Not yet off the hook
The P60-million ad placement of the Department of Tourism in Ben Tulfo's "Bitag" show on state-run PTV-4 will likely be a good test case of the Duterte administration's commitment to fight corruption.
Tulfo, a brother of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, vowed last week that the placement was aboveboard, and that he would not return the money as stated by Teo's lawyer-spokesperson, Ferdinand Topacio.
"Sa mga nagsasabing isauli ang pera at hinihintay daw ang 60-M, mamuti na mga mata niyo! Wala kaming isasauli!" Tulfo wrote in a Facebook post.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he was saddened by Mr. Tulfo's refusal, but added: "Pero kung sila po ay hindi susundin ang kanilang sariling deklarasyon, okay lang po iyan. Meron naman pong proseso."
The Commission on Audit (COA) has issued a notice of disallowance for the P60 million payment, which means that Bitag Media, the production outfit owned by Ben Tulfo, must return the amount.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said last Monday that he will lodge a plunder complaint against the Tulfo siblings over the P60-million tourism ad placement.
The Office of the Ombudsman, then led by Conchita Carpio-Morales, had already launched an investigation into the deal.
Will "Bitag" get off the hook? Abangan.