Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino maintained that he has moved on following his sudden withdrawal from the senatorial slate of Liberal Party (LP).
It can be recalled that Tolentino received heavy criticism for supposedly providing lewd entertainment involving twerking girls at an LP gathering in Laguna last October.
He is currently running as an independent senatorial candidate for the 2016 elections.
When asked if he felt that he was left hanging by his LP allies, Tolentino nonchalantly replied, “Okay lang ho sa akin yun.
“I think, in the end, the Filipino voters will decide.
“Sinabi ko sa umpisa, yung partido nating lahat—Pilipinas.”
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other reporters were able to interview Tolentino at a presscon last Thursday, December 10.
SUPPORT FROM MAYOR DUTERTE. But Tolentino seemed to have found an ally in presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who previously vouched for the former’s good work ethics.
Mayor Duterte partly said in a radio show in Davao last month, “Matagal ko nang kilala si Francis. And he's one of the most decent officials sa ating bayan.”
To which, Tolentino gratefully remarked, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya kasi malaking tulong yun.
“Yun yung panahon na nag-iisa ako. Walang pumapansin sa akin.
“Yun yung panahon na maraming nakalimot.
“So, merong Duterte na tumulong. Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya.”
Tolentino remained noncommittal, however, when asked if he’s officially endorsing Mayor Duterte as his presidential bet.
“Meron siyang announcement na forthcoming.
“Hintayin na lang natin yung announcement.
“Let’s wait for his decision. Ayoko naman i-preempt.
“Matalik kong kaibigan yun.”
ON DEALING WITH CRITICISMS. In the meantime, Tolentino is optimistic that people will still support him despite the criticisms he faced amid his previous task to make Metro Manila traffic easier.
“Halos dalawang buwan na akong wala sa MMDA.
“Masasagot ninyo po kung may traffic pa ngayon.
"Masasagot ninyo rin kung gumanda na ang ating [traffic] flow.”
Tolentino explained that fixing the day-to-day heavy traffic situation in Metro Manila is a daunting task that includes coordinating with six municipal jurisdictions, other government agencies, and private companies.
“Nahirapan po ako dahil hindi ko po jurisdiction ang LTFRB [Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board].
“Nahirapan ako nang naglabas ng 5,000 additional franchises for trucks ang LTFRB.
“Nahirapan ako tuwing nasisira ang MRT. Hindi ko po jurisdiction ang MRT.
“Nahirapan ako tuwing mag-reblocking ang DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] sa EDSA.
“Nahirapan po ako dahil hindi ko kontralodo ang 23,000 vehicles sales per month.”
He further lamented, “I was given a great mandate.
“But I was not given the consequent resources and wherewithals to combat the negative effects of urbanization.
“At yun po ang nararamdaman ninyo ngayon.”
Tolentino added that he hopes to push for the creation of a master plan for Metro Manila, including zoning ordinances to encompass six jurisdictions that will go beyond political implications.
“What I’m saying is this: We have to plan positively involving the local governments concerned and we have to execute the plans diligently.
“Wala na pong partido yun.”