DOT chief hands off the P60M ad buy controversy
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat has taken her hands off the controversial P60-million advertisement that her predecessor Wanda Tulfo Teo paid to a show produced and hosted by two of her own brothers.
Puyat said Wednesday she is letting the Commission on Audit (COA) deal with the matter.
“The PTV4 deal was already with the COA and as I believe they’ve already given their audit observation memorandum (AOM) to the ones involved, and as I was told the COA is giving those that were given AOM 6 months to reply,” Puyat said when asked by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano during the tourism department’s budget briefing at the House of Representatives.
“Right now it’s with the proper authority and we’ll just leave it all up to them, ’cause they were given 6 months to reply,” Puyat added.
When asked if the money should be returned to Department of Tourism (DOT), Puyat said she would leave it up to the COA, saying they’re the “proper authority to say if there should or should not be a disallowance, and they’ve already said that there is a disallowance.”
She added that her office received a copy of the AOM last June, and that if those involved do not pay within six months, the case would go to the Office of the Ombudsman.
To recall, a COA report said the DOT under Teo paid P60-million to the government-run People’s Television Network, Inc. (PTNI) for the airing of the agency’s ad, which was subsequently placed in the news magazine show “Kilos Pronto” that was produced by Teo’s brother Ben Tulfo and co-hosted by another brother, Erwin.
But the COA report indicated that there was no memorandum of agreement (MOA) or contract between PTNI and Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI) to carry the tourism advertisements.
Puyat meanwhile assured that her agency is in close coordination with the COA, which is conducting internal audits on their existing contracts.
“In fact they have been sending us people who audit existing contracts and they’ve been helping us in strengthening our internal audit system,” she noted. /kga
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