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PHILIPPINE Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres says she is retiring this month to put an end to issues plaguing the agency.

Her retirement – seen by some sectors as a face-saving scheme — was the climax of a controversy sparked by two videos circulated online in August apparently showing Torres playing slot machine at a casino.

Torres, reportedly a shooting buddy of President Benigno Aquino III, said she personally informed both the Chief Executive and Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya of her decision to retire, adding that Aquino supported the move. She denied Malacañang had asked her to step down.

The videos sparked calls for her to quit for violating a ban on officials “from entering and playing in casinos” under Memorandum Circular No. 8 issued in August 2001.

Abaya said last September Torres was under investigation for the allegations.

Torres has vehemently denied she was at the casino to gamble.

“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,” she was quoted in a report from abscbnnews.com.

The memo, issued by the Office of the President on August 28, 2001, covers “government officials connected directly with the operation of the government or any of its agencies (save personnel employed by the casinos who may be allowed to stay in the premises) and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force.”

Photo from www.lto.gov.ph

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