Roque: Trust Duterte to make right move on Wanda Teo
DAVAO CITY — The clearest sign of President Rodrigo Duterte losing trust in Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar or other Cabinet members would be if he fired them, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
Teo and Andanar are now at the center of a scandal over a P60-million ad deal that the Department of Tourism (DOT) placed in state-run People’s Television Network Inc. (PTNI), which ended up in the program of Teo’s brother Ben Tulfo called “Kilos Pronto (Move Swiftly).”
In a briefing at the presidential guest house here, Roque said that “unless he fires a secretary, the President still has trust and confidence on them.”
Roque said the public should be assured, though, that the President would make the right decision on Teo’s and other cases of graft, “painful as it may be.”
Documents about the controversial ad deal are now with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, according to Roque.
Mr. Duterte, however, was leaving it up to Medialdea whether to summon Teo for an explanation, Roque said.
He said that while there was no timeline set for the investigation, previous probes by Malacañang on cases of corruption did not take too long.
“There are many precedents when the Office of the President conducted an investigation and the President acted swiftly,” Roque said.
COA red flag
The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the ad deal after it was found that the payment went to Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI), a company formed by Ben Tulfo.
Aside from Ben Tulfo, another brother of Teo, Erwin, also hosts “Kilos Pronto” along with former ABS-CBN personality Alex Santos.
The COA said there was no memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PTNI and BMUI to air the DOT ads. Only PTNI and the DOT had a MOA.
The MOA, however, did not specify airtime rates and conditions for payment.
Without these, there was no basis to compute how much taxpayer’s money should be paid by Teo’s department to her brother Ben Tulfo’s company, BMUI.—REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA AND FRINSTON LIM
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