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Teo insists P60-M ad deal with PTV 4 legal

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 07:00 AM May 01, 2018

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo (right) after administering the oath of office to new Undersecretary Pompee La Viña . —JOVIC YEE

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Monday maintained that the P60-million advertising contract entered into by her department with PTV 4 was aboveboard, and that any questions pertaining to its legality should be addressed to the government television network.

According to Teo, the contract the Department of Tourism (DOT) had with PTV 4 went through the proper bidding process and was reviewed by its legal division.

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She said that all checks issued by the DOT “were made payable to PTV 4.”

“No check went to any production house. We issued the check once the deliverables were met. We have no problem with our COA (Commission on Audit) here. It’s probably the COA of PTV 4. I think you should be asking them because with our COA, the contract with PTV 4 is OK,” Teo said.

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In its audit report on People’s Television Network Inc. released on Friday, the COA flagged the P60 million paid by the DOT to the program “Kilos Pronto,” produced by Teo’s brother Ben Tulfo because of the absence of documents showing that the payments were valid and legal.

Palace to investigate

Regardless of Teo’s explanation, Malacañang said it would still conduct its own investigation of the COA report on the DOT contract with PTV 4.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the matter had reached President Rodrigo Duterte and he wanted to know how this came about.

“[The President] wants to get to the bottom of the matter being discussed,” Roque said in a press briefing.

“You know our procedure in the Palace — there are news reports, the President will look into it. There will be some kind of an investigation conducted and the Palace will decide its course of action,” he added.

Teo made the clarification after administering the oath of office to newly appointed Tourism Undersecretary Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña, who immediately sought to shake off intrigues that he wanted to unseat Teo.

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Months after he himself was embroiled in corruption allegations that led to his sacking as a commissioner of the Social Security System (SSS), La Viña said he had no influence on the COA or the media outfits, including the Inquirer, that ran the story on the government audit of the DOT.

‘Demolition job’

In a scathing Facebook Live video on Sunday night, Tulfo alluded to La Viña as the one behind the “demolition job” in an effort to take Teo “out of the Department of Tourism.”

The video was taken down on Monday afternoon.

“We are both supporters of President Duterte, but you are a termite … You were sacked from the SSS because it is your specialty to (expletive) on social media,” Tulfo said in Filipino in the deleted post.

The President sacked La Viña in February.

In another Facebook post on Monday, Tulfo said he “voluntarily” deleted the video because he wanted Teo to be “comfortable [working] with one of her undersecretaries at the DOT.”

Teo distanced herself from her brother’s comment, noting that she “doesn’t believe” that La Viña would do such a thing.

“I trust he’s going to work with me,” she said.

The allegations against her and her brothers, she said, were prompted by several factors, including the closure of Boracay Island, the “hard-hitting” stance of her journalist brothers against corrupt government officials, and the high ranking in a survey of possible senatorial candidates of her broadcaster brother Erwin Tulfo. —With a report from Leila B. Salaverria

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TAGS: Ben Tulfo, COA, Commission On Audit, DOT ad contract, Jose Gabriel La Viña, Kilos Pronto, PTNI, PTV, Wanda Tulfo Teo
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