MANILA — The Palace on Monday defended Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino from people calling for his resignation.
“Patuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ni Pangulong Aquino kay MMDA Chairman Tolentino sa kanyang pagganap ng tungkulin,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters during the media briefing in Malacañang when asked to comment on an online petition for Tolentino to resign for reportedly shifting his focus from his work to his campaign for a seat in the Senate in next year’s elections.
“Sa nakalipas na limang taon, ipinakita ni Chairman Tolentino ang isang hands-on, ‘can do’ management style ng agarang pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan bunsod ng bagyo at pagbaha at paghahanda sa matitinding kalamidad tulad ng kagaganap na ‘shake drill’ para sa maaaring epekto ng malakas na paglindol sa lugar ng West Valley Fault Line,” Coloma said.
He also noted that Tolentino’s efforts have contributed to the orderly visit of Pope Francis last January, and that he has been tasked to help prepare for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila this November.
“Ang pagpunta ni Chairman Tolentino sa ibang lalawigan ay bahagi ng kanyang official functions upang ipaliwanag ang kanyang nalalaman at karanasan sa disaster preparedness bilang taga-pangulo ng NCR (National Capital Region) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council,” Coloma clarified.
Asked if the President transferred the management of the traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) from the MMDA to the Highway Patrol Group because he no longer trusts Tolentino, Coloma pointed out that it was the MMDA chairman who proposed that the police patrol group take the lead in handling the traffic along EDSA.
On why Tolentino donated PhP20 million worth of traffic lights to Legazpi, Albay, Coloma said this is part of his official duty.
“Siya po ay government official pa rin at ginagamit niya ‘yung lehitimong resources ng kanyang tanggapan para sa isang lehitimong official function,” he said.