Trillanes, Tulfo siblings trade insults in Senate probe on DOT-PTV ad deal
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the Tulfo siblings traded insults at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Present at the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the controversial P60 million advertisement deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and state-run PTV4 were former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, TV host and producer Ben Tulfo, and broadcast journalist Erwin Tulfo.
At the start of his interrogation, Trillanes reminded the Tulfos that a crime of plunder entails a penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
“So wala tayong death penalty so swerte niyo,” the senator quipped.
(We don’t have death penalty anymore so you’re lucky.)
Trillanes directed his first question to the former DOT chief, who earlier claimed that she was not aware that the ad money was placed in her brother Ben’s show “Kilos Pronto” with PTV4.
“’Yan po ang assertion niyo, subukan niyo sa korte na defense; tingnan natin kung mag hold ‘yan,” the senator said, adding that the entire country would not believe Tulfo-Teo’s claim.
(That’s your assertion, try to use it as defense in court; see if it could hold.)
“Your honor, that’s your assertion,” the former DOT chief said.
Trillanes went on, saying the ad fiasco was just a glimpse of how Tulfo-Teo was “reckless” in disbursing the DOT’s funds.
“Your honor, can I answer? I’m not reckless when it comes to disbursement of funds,” Tulfo-Teo said.
“Well wala akong question so hindi kailangan ng sagot,” he said.
(Well I don’t have any question so there’s no answer needed.)
The senator then directed his next question to Ben Tulfo, and asked the total amount he received from the ad deal.
But Tulfo said they have yet to account the total payments they received.
“Off hand, I don’t have a record but we can present it maybe in the court of law,” he said.
“Ito na, panay ang iwas na. Pero dun sa radio program kay tatapang e pero ngayon nabibilaukan. ‘Pag katotohanan, ang hirap lumabas no?” Trillanes said.
(Here it is, you keep evading this. On your radio program, you’re so fearless but now you’re choking. When it’s the truth, it’s hard to come with it, isn’t it?)
The TV host wanted to respond to the senator’s remark but the latter ignored him and proceeded to ask another question.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, had to bang the gavel to keep order in the hearing.
Gordon had to intervene again when Erwin Tulfo later asked Trillanes to first prove his plunder allegations against them.
“Kanina ko pa naririnig, inipilit mo na may plunder. Patunayan mo muna na may plunder, bossing,” Erwin said.
(I keep hearing you insisting that there’s plunder. Prove that there’s plunder, boss.)
“It’s not for you to decide, it’s the court to decide, sir,” he added.
At this point, Gordon admonished everyone in the hearing room, including Trillanes, saying there was no conclusion yet in the hearing and pointed out that it was just the latter’s style of questioning. /je
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