MANILA, Philippines – Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Virginia Torres said she will be retiring by the end of October this year contrary to reports that she was terminated, reports said on Monday.
Torres said President Benigno Aquino III gave the go signal for her to leave her post by the end of the month after serving in the government for 33 years.
“Para magkaroon ng katahimikan na yung sa LTO, sa mga issues, I chose to retire. Hindi naman totoo yung mga death threat… Ako ay kusang nagpaalam, maayos na nagpaalam sa Pangulo (Benigno Aquino III) at sa ating (Transportation and Communications) Secretary Joseph Abaya,” she said in a radio interview.
(“So there would be peace at LTO, in relation to issues, I chose to retire. The reported death threats are not true…I voluntarily said farewell, properly said goodbye to the President (Benigno Aquino III) and to (Transportation and Communications) Secretary Joseph Abaya,” she said in a radio interview.)
Abaya, in another television interview, confirmed that he met with Torres before the announcement.
“She didn’t really open up on the details of [her] meeting [with the President]…I merely respected her decision to retire and she has said she is already of age and eligible to retire,” Abaya said.
Abaya said they will soon come out with a list of names, eligible to replace Torres, to be submitted to Aquino.
The LTO chief recently figured in a controversy after a video, allegedly showing her playing a slot machine in a casino, circulated online.
Torres confirmed that she was the person in the video but said it happened a long time ago.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 8, heads of agencies and departments are prohibited from staying or playing in casinos.
Abaya, however, said he has to check with their legal department on whether there is a need to conclude the investigation on the issue since it would be considered moot with the retirement of Torres.
The penalty for violating the casino ban for government officials ranges from a reprimand to termination of office, Abaya said.
Torres, Aquino’s alleged shooting buddy, was appointed LTO chief in July 2010.