'Like a son asking forgiveness from his father'
MANILA - Former Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino on Friday issued a public apology to President Rodrigo Duterte after being fired earlier this week.
“Nandito ako bilang isang anak na humihingi ng kapatawaran sa kanyang butihing ama,” he said.
(I'm here as a son asking for the forgiveness of his good father.)
Tolentino admitted to mentioning the first family during a press conference on May 18, which he said put the president in an embarrassing situation.
“Sa hindi sinasadyang kadahilanan, nabanggit ko po ang first family sa Q&A section during my press con last week, May 18, 2018. Dahil po doon, I put the president in an embarrassing situation," he said.
(I unintentionally mentioned the first family in the question and answer portion of a press conference last week, May 18, 2018. Because of that, I put the president in an embarrassing situation.)
However, he strongly denied that deals were discussed with the president’s sister.
“Wala pong dealing na nangyari. Purely friendship, purely camaraderie, being a Mindanaoan. Kahit sino namang pupunta sa office, we will need to entertain,” he said.
(No deal happened. Purely friendship, purely camaraderie being a Mindanaoan. Whoever goes to the office, we will need to entertain.)
He added that his intent during the press conference was to give updates on the Mindanao railway that he wanted to complete by 2022, the ultimate dream of Mindanaoans.
He said he hopes the president would give him an opportunity to explain his side about the issue.
Addressing the officials of the transportation department, he said he hopes they would continue giving attention to Mindanao.
Asked whether he noticed any irregularities or anomaly in the department in carrying out the Mindanao railway, he said there were delays in the project.
"So far, may mga konting delay eh alam niyo naman ako, gusto ko ganun ganun, ganun talaga," he said.
(So far there are a few delays. You know me, I want what I want.)
He also divulged that a state-funded company in China expressed interest in lending money for the project, even though it already has a budget of P36 billion.
"May nag-interes na China. I think state-funded. I have no idea as of today. Ang purpose ko lang talaga, sana matapos na (ang project), yun lang ang gusto ko. Matapos on time, maumpisahan ang Mindanao railway," he said.
(A company from China expressed interest in the project. I think state-funded. My purpose, really, is to finish the project, that's the only thing I want--to start and finish the Mindanao railway on time.)