COA: Teo’s DOT paid P60M for ads on brother Tulfo’s PTV 4 show
The Department of Tourism (DOT) under Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo last year paid P60 million worth of advertisements on a government television program produced by her brother, Ben Tulfo, and cohosted by another brother, Erwin Tulfo, without documents showing the payments were valid and legal, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
In a report on its audit of the government-run People’s Television Network Inc. (PTNI), the COA said there was no memorandum of agreement (MOA) or contract between PTNI and Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI) to air DOT commercial advertisements in BMUI’s “Kilos Pronto” show.
The report was published on the COA website on Friday.
Touted as a public service program exposing anomalies and misdeeds, the news-magazine type show runs daily on PTV 4 between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. It is hosted by the Tulfo brothers and broadcaster Alex Santos.
Although Ben told the Inquirer they had a contract “with PTV,” the COA report said auditors found that the only MOA on file was between PTNI and the DOT.
That MOA required the government TV network to air a six-minute segment in “Kilos Pronto” plus a three-minute DOT spot within the program.
But “there were no provisions for the airtime rates per segment/spot and such other terms and conditions of the commercial advertisement specifically as regards the manner of payment,” COA said.
The auditors were told by PTNI’s finance and airtime management/programming division that the PTNI-DOT MOA “was under review” by the network’s lawyers.
Absence of documents
According to the COA, PTNI made the following payments by check to BMUI: P22,089,560 on May 11, 2017; P18.96 million on Nov. 8, 2017; and P18.96 million on Dec. 15, 2017.
Without a MOA spelling out terms and conditions, “there was also no basis for the computations on how the said three payments were arrived at,” COA said.
“Due to the absence of the documents mentioned and the deficiencies noted, the accuracy, legality and validity of
the payments made to blocktimer BMUI in the amount of P60,009,560.00 could not be ascertained,” the report said.
There was no immediate comment from Teo.
In a phone interview with the Inquirer on Saturday, Ben said that he would have to first see the COA report before he could make an “accurate” comment.
He said, however, that BMUI was a “private” and “independent” production company, which had “no personality, no business in dealing with the DOT.”
Ben said BMUI was a “content provider for any network.”
“We are working with PTV, not working for. We don’t have any personality with the DOT. We don’t have any contract with the DOT. Our only contract is with PTV … PTV can choose anybody as long as [they] fit the services, are technically capable,” he said.
The state auditing agency said it had asked PTNI to submit the following documents: a copy of the MOA between PTNI and BMUI for the airing of the DOT commercial advertisements in “Kilos Pronto,” indicating, among other things, the airtime rates; a copy of the certificate of performance for the airing of DOT commercials within the airtime of “Kilos Pronto”; billing statement and other documents to support the computation of payments to BMUI; and the budget utilization request as to availability of funds.
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