Netizens calling for his resignation must be rejoicing now. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino has just made his resignation public and signed the letter before members of the media and MMDA employees. A video of his announcement was posted on his Facebook page.
Prior to reading the letter out loud, he reviewed his accomplishments as the agency's chief. "Mahaba-haba po ito," he said. He then proceeded to read his resignation (in italics):
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III, Pangulo ng Pilipinas, Lungsod ng Maynila.
Sa loob po ng mahigit limang taon ay binuhos ko po ang aking sariling kaalaman at kakayahan sa tinuturing na pinakamahirap na trabaho sa gabinete, ang MMDA. Saksi po ang lahat at batid po ninyo, ang halos 24/7 na paglilingkod na ginawa ko sa MMDA. Ako po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat at habambuhay kong tatanawin ang mga ginintuang alaala na nakasama kayo bilang aking Pangulo sa paglilingkod sa sambayanan.
Dumating na po ang panahon na ako ay umalis na para lumahok sa isang mas mataas na antas na paglilingkod sa bayan ngayong 2016. Dahil po dito, ako po ay nagbibitiw na bilang chairman ng MMDA. Lubos na gumagalang at nananatiling tapat na kaibigan, ang inyong abang lingkod.
Sa harap ninyong lahat, nilalagdaan ko ang liham ng aking pagbibitiw sa aking katungkulan.
Tolentino has also withdrawn as a senatorial candidate of the administration. President Benigno S. Aquino III has the following statement on the matter as posted on the Official Gazette of the Philippines website (in italics):
Today, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino spoke on the recent incident connected to him. He has accepted responsibility for it. With this, he has likewise decided to withdraw as a senatorial candidate of the Administration.
In all his years of public service--from the time he was appointed by my mother as Officer in Charge of Tagaytay City in 1986 to his participation in the reform agenda as a member of my Cabinet--Francis demonstrated the dedication and dynamic leadership of a public servant committed to the common good. It is this same commitment that encouraged him to set his sights toward serving our people in a higher capacity.
Francis is a firm advocate of Daang Matuwid. He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident. I believe that Chairman Tolentino is doing his part to ensure that public debate truly focuses on the continuation of Daang Matuwid and the undeniable benefits it has brought to our Bosses.
It is also my belief that he will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better affect positive change in the future.
Wait. Tolentino says he quit the MMDA to pursue a higher calling as a public servant. But then he also withdrew from the administration's stable of senatorial candidates. So, what's next for the former MMDA chief's political career?
One thing's for sure: We won't see him again walking on EDSA carrying a lightsaber.
Photo from Francis Tolentino's Facebook page