Torres’ retirement ‘better route,’ says Aquino

Natashya Gutierrez

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President Aquino says he would leave it to Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya to find a new LTO boss

GRACEFUL EXIT? Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres retires as government investigates her casino 'presence.' Photo is a screenshot of YouTube video that went viral in August

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III said he did not force Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres to resign, but stressed  her decision to leave her post is the “better route.”

Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Monday, October 7, that he met with Torres and “told her the lay of the land.”

He did not elaborate but said he “quoted certain things,” and “she agreed with the end point.”

But he stressed “I did not force her” to quit.

Aquino said it’s all for the better. “[It’s] less stress for her, less stress for her family and maybe it’s better for the agency which has to attend to everything it has to attend to, because somehow, there was some diversion on their focus and attention,” he said.

Torres announced her retirement early Monday, after figuring out in a viral video showing her playing in a casino.

Aquino said he did not discuss the incident at length with Torres.

“I told her, since she’s my province mate, I said, ‘I don’t need an explanation anymore,’ and she understood,” Aquino said. Both are from Tarlac.

“She’s older than I am, she’s a woman, you wouldn’t want to give her advice when the situation is already so heavy — that’s making it harder on her.”

Aquino defended his friend and said he didn’t believe accusations she’s corrupt.


Torrres, who turned 60 in May, served the government for 33 years. She previously headed Tarlac’s LTO branch and was appointed to her current post as assistant secretary at the LTO in July 2010, after Aquino assumed office. She’s been hounded by controversy since then.

Aquino said he would leave it to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to find her replacement.

According to Memorandum Circular No. 8 issued by Malacañang on Aug 28, 2001, “All government personnel concerned are prohibited from entering, staying and/or playing at gambling casinos.” Malacañang is currently investigating the video showing Torres playing in a casino slot machine.

Torres said she will “accept” any decision that will come out of the investigation. –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.