Montano: Teo pushed for P80-M payment to ‘Buhay Carinderia’
Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano has blamed his agency’s mess to his former boss, Wanda Teo.
In a radio interview on dzBB on Friday, Montano said it was Teo, the former secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT), who pushed for the payment of P80 million to the marketing agency Marylindbert International.
The agency, owned by Erlinda Legaspi, was the project organizer of “Buhay Carinderia,” a video series aimed at promoting local food and eateries. Formely called “Carinderia Fiesta,” the project was initiated by Legaspi in 2011. It was only in March 2018 that the TPB sponsored it.
Not yet complete
Newly appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat called out Montano for disbursing 90 percent of the P80 million even if Buhay Carienderia project was not yet complete.
On Thursday, she suspended all TPB projects pending review by the Commission on Audit.
Checks bearing the signatures of Montano and Teo showed that TPB made payments on March 19 for P13.44 million, March 20 for P31.36 million and April 17 for P35.84 million.
“The TPB extended our reservations. We informed Secretary Teo that the disbursement was too fast and we didn’t need to pay them immediately,” Montano said.
He said Teo introduced Legaspi to him, saying she was a “friend.”
Montano said he could not question payments Teo wanted to be made for TPB projects because “she’s the [chaiperson], she’s the boss.” —DEXTER CABALZA
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