MANILA, Philippines – The ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s prospective vice presidential candidate on Friday, October 2, joined party mates in condemning an event hosted by a member in Laguna that featured scantily-clad women dancing and simulating dry humping on stage.
“Walang puwang sa aming partido ang kahit anong gawain na niyuyurakan ang karapatan at dignidad ng kababaihan (There is no space in our party for anything that degrades the rights and dignity of women),” Camarines Sur Third District Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said in a text message to Rappler.
On Thursday, October 1, LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II led the oathtaking of some 80 new party members in the fourth district of Laguna, at the residence of Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao. The oathtaking coincided with Agarao’s birthday celebration, held in the same venue after the LP event.
It became controversial when photos and videos of the “Playgirls” – the all-girl group that provided entertainment during the party – were posted online.
In photos and videos, the girls were seen simulating dry humping with male volunteers from the audience. Children and college students were reportedly part of the crowd.
Filipinos online expressed disgust over the performance, which the party emcee said was courtesy of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.
October 5 announcement
Roxas had earlier asked Robredo to be his running-mate in 2016 but the neophyte legislator has yet to make a final decision.
The administration standard-bearer earlier issued a statement to distance himself from the incident since “some groups” have been trying to drag his name into the fiasco. Roxas reminded LP members not to resort to “gimmicks” during the campaign season and said he would not allow activities that would “abuse women.”
Roxas was not part of the audience when the performance happened, but both Tolentino and Agarao were there when the girls began their act. Roxas said the party would investigate the matter.
Tolentino has since denied paying for the performance, while Agarao claimed that it was his friends who sent the girls over.
There is nothing in the LP’s constitution that explicitly spells out any possible consequences for members responsible for the Laguna “performance.” The LP’s laws, however, spells out as grounds for disciplinary action acts that are “antagonistic to [the LP’s] objectives or inimical to [the LP’s] interests.”
Earlier, the LP kicked out Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado after his extramarital affair went public. The LP said in its resolution on Tallado’s case: “The LP can only be a reputable as its members. To enable the LP to be an effective instrument in achieving the Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path), it is necessary that its members should strive at all times to uphold the honor and maintain the dignity of the party, even in their private lives.”