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

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 30) — Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo on Monday denied irregularities in the department's P60 million ad placement on her brother's TV show on state-run PTV-4.

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.

"Interview with the Accounting personnel revealed that there was no Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or contract by and between PTNI (People's Television Network Inc.) and Blocktimer BMUI relative to the airing of DOT commercial advertisements in said program," COA reported.

Secretary Teo said the Tourism Department had dealings with PTV-4, and not her brother's production house.

"The contract was between DOT and PTV-4. It was a government-to-government contract. It went through bidding. All checks were made to PTV-4. Wala pong cheke na pumunta sa ibang production house [No checks were paid to other production houses]," she said in a media briefing.

Teo said the ads were placed on Tulfo's show because it was one of PTV-4's top-rating shows.

"Because the contract was between PTV-4 and DOT, wala na po akong pakialam kung ilalagay nila sa kapatid ko. Walang conflict of interest," she said.

[Translation: Because the contract was between PTV-4 and DOT, it's not my concern if they place the ads on my brother's show. There's no conflict of interest.]

Teo said DOT also placed ads and TV features on other local and international media networks.

COA recommended the submission of the necessary documents.

Malacañang is looking into the controversy hounding the Tourism Secretary.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no need for Teo to leave her position while being investigated.

COA also said PTV failed to remit Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) taxes withheld amounting to P210.83 million. It said the state-run news agency "consistently withheld" taxes on salaries and other benefits paid to its officers and employees.