Opposition solons want Tourism Secretary Tulfo-Teo to resign over PTV-4 ad deal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — Opposition lawmakers called on Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo to resign over a P60-million television ad deal between her department and the People's Television Network (PTV-4).

Members of the Makabayan bloc demanded Teo to vacate her post to show delicadeza.

"Whether or not sinasabi ni Sec. Teo na wala siyang kinalaman dito, eh you have the authority to resign. Kung nabasa mo man kontrata na nasa kapatid mo, delicadeza demands na wag mo na ituloy yun. Being a public official, you know the regulations, yung interest," said Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao.

[Translation: Whether or not Sec. Teo is denying her involvement, you have the authority to resign. If you read your brother's contract, delicadeza demands that you shouldn't have pushed through with it. Being a public official, you know the regulations and interest.]

Casilao also pointed out that the Duterte administration has repeatedly frowned upon nepotism, and that the issue is a clear example of conflict of interest.

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier said the multi-million transaction between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI) — a media outfit headed by Teo's brother, Ben Tulfo — lacked supporting documents.

COA said DOT paid P60.009 million in three tranches to BMUI to place commercials on "Kilos Pronto," the show on PTV-4 which features Ben and Erwin Tulfo and Alex Santos.

The auditing body raised DOT's dealings with Bitag Media were "not supported with proper documents," such as the Memorandum of Agreement, Certificate of Performance, duly-approved budget utilization request, and billing statement detailing the media company's deliverables.

Teo earlier denied there was a conflict of interest as her department had dealings with PTV-4, and not her brother's production house.

READ: Tulfo-Teo: No conflict of interest in P60M tourism ads on brother's show on PTV-4

COA, however, said the Tourism Department knew of the ad's placement in "Kilos Pronto."

"The MOA (memorandum of agreement) on file was between PTNI (also known as PTV-4) and DOT, specifically requiring PTNI to air a 6-minute segment buy in PTVs Daily News-type magazine segment, Kilos Pronto, plus a 3-minute DOT spot within the program."

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, meanwhile, called on the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Teo and the said contract.

"Malinaw na palusot lang yung statement ni Secretary Teo na sa pagitan lang ito ng DOT at PTV-4. Klaro naman sa MOA na binabanggit programa ng kapatid," Tinio said.

[Translation: It is clear that Secretary Teo's statement that the deal was just between the DOT and PTV is just an excuse. Her brother's program was clearly mentioned in the MOA.]

Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin pointed out that the COA findings showed there were four major violations found in the disbursement vouchers the DOT released.

"There were four major violations found in the disbursement vouchers like no MOA between PTNI and BMUI, no certificate of performance, no duly approved budget utilization request, and detailed billing statements and that the ads be in the DOT-supported Kilos Pronto segment not the BMUI," Villarin said.

Given the violations, Villarin said the COA should now issue a notice of disallowance or the return of the awarded bid to the government.