More troubles await Tolentino over Playgirls’ twerking
SEVERAL labor groups on Wednesday filed a formal complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino, for violating the code of conduct for public officials and employees.
By “allowing, encouraging and inciting the obscene show by the Playgirls, Tolentino et al. clearly deprived the Playgirls, the viewing women and women in general their rights, protection, respect and human dignity,” the complainants said, citing Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and
RA 9710, also known as the Magna Carta for Women.
On top of the Ombudsman charges, Tolentino may face a congressional probe of the Playgirls’ scandal, as Gabriela Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luz Ilagan on Wednesday filed House Resolution No. 2435, asking the House committee on women and gender equality and the committee on good government and public accountability to investigate the use of women as sex objects during political gatherings.
In the Liberal Party (LP) oath-taking ceremony of local officials in Sta. Rosa, Laguna province, on Oct. 1, the Playgirls performed a raunchy number that had them twerking onstage in skimpy outfits and doing suggestive hip thrusts while mounted on several male volunteers.
The number, the emcee, said was Tolentino’s gift to Laguna Rep. Benjie Agarao, whose birthday coincided with the LP event.
The Inquirer’s video of the Playgirls’ show drew at least 1.3 million views on YouTube, as well as universal condemnation from women’s groups, civil society and netizens.
Tolentino apologized on Wednesday for the fiasco and asked the LP to drop him from its senatorial slate. He also resigned his post at the MMDA.
But Gabriela Representative De Jesus said her group was still pushing for the congressional probe despite Tolentino’s apology, which was “too little, too late,” since the MMDA chair and Agarao had initially defended the show.
“Agarao [even] claimed that this particular incident is not isolated and is in fact a common practice in political or electoral events,” said De Jesus, who added that girls, guns, goons, and gold should not be tolerated on the campaign trail.
The complaint filed in the Ombudsman was filed by representatives of Partido Manggagawa, Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), and the Council of Retirees-PSLINK.
Also signing on as complainants were officials of Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition, Sentro, Federation of Free Workers, Association of Labor Unions, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Alliance of Filipino Workers and Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association.
In a separate statement, the groups’ lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, said civil servants were expected “to exemplify the highest standard of conduct and behavior.”
Kapunan said the complaint sought “to hold public officials accountable” for such acts. “Women should be respected. There is no justification that they be treated as sex objects,” she added.