“Tolentino and his LP cohorts committed an act most offensive to women and insulting to the public. If these are the kind of leaders who have the gall to run for office in next year’s elections, we must not let them win.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A progressive women’s group lambasted Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino for degrading women in a lewd performance meant as a “gift” to Laguna Congressman Benjamin Agarao’s birthday and to guests present at the Liberal Party’s oath-taking ceremony.
Gabriela Secretary General Joms Salvador said despite Tolentino’s denials, “The fact remains that he was not appalled by the incident and did not have the decency to stop the show when it was obviously becoming lewd.”
In the event, the emcee reportedly announced that the three women called “Playgirls” – all wearing midriff and boyleg panties — were Tolentino’s gift to Agarao who celebrated his 58th birthday and 40th year in service. A report also quoted that Tolentino jested, “I actually asked them to wear skirts.” However, the “gift” was denied by Tolentino and Agarao, who said that he did not find anything lewd and malicious on the women’s dancing and twerking.
Salvador said what’s worse is that the Liberal Party condoned such “objectification of women.” She said that LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas graced the event, which means it was a major party affair.
“Tolentino and his LP cohorts committed an act most offensive to women and insulting to the public. If these are the kind of leaders who have the gall to run for office in next year’s elections, we must not let them win for the sake of women and our country,” said Salvador.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus was also “livid in rage” over the incident.
“Even before the official campaign period starts, they have begun to promote a style of abusing women,” De Jesus said in a statement.
“The Gabriela Women’s Party asserts the need for strengthening the advocacy for politics of change, in contrast to the moribund politics that uses and abuses women in aid of political ambitions,” she said.
“LP was obviously taking cues from a rotten system of politics that the ruling classes maintain,” De Jesus said.
The lawmaker said she plans to file a resolution to investigate violations of Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women.
A petition was also circulated on-line by Change.org demanding President Aquino, as chairman of LP, to make a public apology and order an investigation on the conduct of government officials, including Roxas, Tolentino and Agarao, in violation of Section 19 of Magna Carta of Women.
The petition said the women’s magna carta bans “the portrayal of women in a discriminatory, demeaning and/or derogatory manner in advertisements, shows and programs.”