Duterte appoints Francis Tolentino as ‘political adviser’

Pia Ranada

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Duterte appoints Francis Tolentino as ‘political adviser’
(UPDATED) Tolentino, former MMDA chairman and defeated senatorial candidate in the 2016 polls, is under the Office of the Political Adviser

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Francis Tolentino, former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), has been appointed “political adviser” by President Rodrigo Duterte.

A list of appointments made by Duterte in July includes the name Francis Ng Tolentino, designated political adviser under the Office of the Political Adviser.

The list was sent to media on Tuesday, July 11, while Tolentino’s appointment document was signed on June 27.

Tolentino is best known for leading the MMDA during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

In the 2016 national elections, he ran for senator as an independent candidate with the support of then presidential candidate Duterte. He was often seen in Duterte’s campaign sorties, especially in Mindanao where he was not as known.

Tolentino, however, failed to land a seat in the Senate after coming in 13th place in the elections. He tried to block the proclamation of the new senators and also filed an electoral protest against the 12th placer in the polls, Senator Leila de Lima, accusing her of cheating. The now detained De Lima, who faces drug charges, is one of Duterte’s fiercest critics.

Tolentino was initially going to run for senator under the Liberal Party (LP). But after supposedly hiring sexy dancers for a lawmaker’s birthday party, he urged the LP to remove his name from its senatorial slate. (READ: Senate race: Tolentino spent most, Isko Moreno got biggest contributions)

Tolentino was also mayor of Tagaytay City for 9 years, from 1995 to 2004.

Anthony Castelo

Duterte added to his list of celebrity appointees after tapping singer Anthony Castelo as member of the board of directors of the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company Incorporated.

Castelo, a singer of Filipino love songs, has expressed support for the Duterte administration. In September 2016, he even presented Duterte with a copy of his new album “Ang Bagong Pilipino” during his courtesy call on the President in Davao City.

Duterte has appointed other celebrities into his administration, including actor Cesar Montano as head of the Tourism Promotions Board, comedian Arnell Ignacio as assistant vice president of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and Dennis Padilla as board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. 

All these celebrities helped entertain crowds during Duterte’s campaign sorties in 2016. 

Castelo has popularized songs like “Ng Dahil sa Pag-ibig,” “Hahanapin Ko,” and “Balatkayo.”

Aside from Tolentino’s and Castelo’s appointments, the Palace also announced the reappointment of Jose Manuel “Babes” Romualdez as Special Envoy of the President to the United States and the appointment of William Lima as Special Envoy of the President to China. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.