Trillanes sees plunder in DOT-PTV ad deal, wants Teo fired
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo should be fired and charged in connection with the P60-million advertisement controversy, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Monday.
“Sa akin, hindi lang mag-resign dapat e makasuhan. Dapat tanggalin sa puwesto at kasuhan,” Trillanes said when asked in an interview with Senate reporters if Teo should step down from her post.
The senator said Teo could be charged with plunder and graft after a Commission on Audit report showed that the Department of Tourism (DOT) paid P60 million worth of advertisements on a government television program produced by Teo’s brother, Ben Tulfo, and co-hosted by another brother, Erwin Tulfo.
Senator Nancy Binay has already filed a resolution, calling for a Senate probe on the controversy, but Trillanes said he would file a similar measure.
“Ito ay plunder pag titingnan natin but more importantly gusto nating malaman kung gaano pa kalaking budget ang naabuso dito sa DOT dahil iba’t ibang issue ang lumalabas,” Trillanes said.
He said those involved in the allegedly anomalous deal could not just return the money and then escape liabilities.
“In fact, yung kanilang sinasabi na yan (what they are saying that they would return the money) is an admission that they have committed a crime so kailangan nating maungkat. Baka hindi lang yan ang pondong naabuso dyan,” said the senator.
Teo’s camp explains
Teo’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, earlier said Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI) would return the money to the government.
He also said that the P60-million ad placements on Teo’s brothers’ TV program aired on PTV-4 was not a mistake of his client but of the staff of the tourism agency.
Topacio said that Teo would not have approved the DOT advertisements placed on Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc.’s Kilos Pronto program, if she knew firsthand that it was placed on her bothers’ program.
“Alam niyo po, si Secretary Teo, kung nalaman niya na ‘yong Kilos Pronto pala ay production ng mga Bitag at hosted by her two brothers, eh hindi niya na po itinuloy ‘yan. So someone made a boo-boo somewhere na hindi po siya na-inform,” Topacio said in an interview with DZMM on Monday.
While Topacio agreed that placing the DOT ads on Bitag Media Unlimited Inc.’s programs “does not look good,” he insisted that Teo and his brothers were innocent.
“I can honestly tell you, hindi po alam ni Secretary Teo,” Topacio pointed out./ac