No dinner date for Aquino with Pamela Anderson

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has turned down overtures from former Playboy playmate Pamela Anderson for a dinner date.

The bachelor president's reasons were not immediately known but the Canadian blond bombshell's motive turned out to be far from romantic.

Anderson wants to free Mali, the lone elephant at the Manila Zoo, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters on Friday.

Lacierda said it was a matter previously referred by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The Hollywood star had written Mr. Aquino about the issue, even suggesting a dinner date in Los Angeles, California, to discuss the transfer of the aging and ailing Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand.

"Should you find yourself in Los Angeles, I'd love to take you to dinner and talk more about how we can help Mali," said Anderson in the letter, echoing animal advocates' call for the transfer of the 39-year-old elephant, one of the stars of Manila Zoo.

Lacierda said the Office of the President had long acted on Anderson's letter.

"The issue of the elephant was referred to Agriculture Secretary Alcala by the Executive Secretary, so we will just ask Secretary Alcala what the decision will be," he said.

On the lighter side of things, Lacierda hinted that a long distance affair between the President and the former star of the "Baywatch" TV series wouldn't work.

"Pamela Anderson is in LA, and the President is not going to LA anytime soon," he said.

Could Anderson be open to the prospect of having dinner in the Palace or anywhere in the Philippines?

"No, no, I have no idea [about her plans]. The letter did not give the impression that she was coming here," Lacierda said.

But he said he did not see the letter himself.

"Hey, guess what? Pamela might be willing to meet Alcala and he will be all too willing to meet with her," Lacierda said in jest.

Mali, an Asian elephant, is said to be suffering from foot ailments.

"It endures intense confinement, loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area that is a fraction of the size of her natural habitat," according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the world's largest animal rights organization.

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