The country was rocked by a video showing the LTO chief (and PNoy kabarilan) Virginia Torres positioned by a slot machine in a casino.
So, what’s the big deal?
This is clearly in violation of Memorandum Circular No. 8 issued by the Office of the President in 2001 that prohibits heads of agencies and departments from staying or playing in casinos.
The circular says that the following persons are not allowed to stay and/or play at the gambling casinos: government officials connected directly with the operation of the government; members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); and persons under 21 years of age.
Additionally, the religious sect to which the LTO chief belongs absolutely disallows gambling in any form.
This was the controversial video:
The anger rose… and the alibis started flying all over the place. Palace Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte and LTO Chief Torres took turns in boldly attempting to dissipate the public outrage with their explanations.
To cite a few:
TORRES: “Yes, I remember having dinner with a friend in a hotel. While waiting for the bill to be settled, I saw the slot machine on the lower floor and out of curiosity, I sat in front of one machine and marveled at the lights and read the instructions. I immediately left when the bill was paid. This happened way back.”
VALTE: “The Palace is not castigating Torres… she has already belied gambling saying she was attracted by the machine’s lights and out of curiosity read the instructions on it.”
Though the explanations garnered a few believers… there was a second video…
Yes, Virginia… God works in mysterious ways.