FOR A CAUSE. Senator Sonny Angara and wife, Tootsy (standing, 5th and 6th from left), pose with guests at the lawmaker’s 50th birthday party at Manila Polo Club in Makati City on Saturday (Aug. 6, 2022). Among the guests were Senators Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel III, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, and JV Ejercito and former colleague Richard Gordon (standing, 3rd from left). (Photo courtesy of Sonny Angara Facebook)

MANILA – Senator Sonny Angara’s birthday party held over the weekend was both a celebration of his 50th year and a fundraising event, as the lavish celebration was criticized after photos and videos circulated online.

In a social media post, Angara said the party at Manila Polo Club in Makati City on Saturday night raised more than PHP3 million for the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation, Inc. (PGHMFI), a non-stock, non-profit organization that assists indigent patients.

Aside from fellow lawmakers, the event was also graced by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

"Best part of the night is that we raised over PHP3 million for the PGH Foundation, our chosen beneficiary, in lieu of gifts," Angara posted.

Dennis Legaspi, Angara’s communications director, said the senator always encourages donations to PGHMFI, instead of gifts, during his birthday.

"God bless all of you for giving generously. Madami po kayong matutulungang mahihirap na pasyente (You will help a lot of indigent patients)," Angara said. (PNA)