Duterte orders probe into DOT deal with Tulfo brothers’ media outfit

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2018 01:05 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2018 07:43 PM

Ben and Erwin Tulfo. Victoria Benzema

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a probe into the tourism department’s placement of P60 million worth of advertisements on a government television program produced and hosted by Secretary Wanda Teo’s brothers, Ben and Erwin Tulfo, supposedly without proper documents.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the placement of ads in the Tulfo brothers’ show Kilos Pronto, which is a blocktimer on government station PTV 4. 

COA said there was no memorandum of agreement or contract between PTV 4 and the Bitag Media Unlimited Inc (BMUI) to air DOT commercials.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the matter has reached the President and the latter wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.

“Ang alam ko po umabot na ang balita. And I can confirm na mayroong ‘let’s look into this,’” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

“I assure you, the Palace will investigate the matter. We have to accept the findings of the COA. The Palace will investigate on its own.”

President Duterte has fired several high-ranking Cabinet members and government employees amid allegations of corruption. He has been repeatedly saying that he will sack his appointees as long there is a “whiff of corruption.”

Teo, in a separate press briefing, said the ad contract was between DOT and PTV-4, not Bitag's producer.

She said it was PTV's own decision to place the ads in her brothers' show due to its high ratings.

"Ang contract po was between PTV-4 and DOT because iyung request pong Presidente [Rodrigo Duterte] is we support the government station," she told reporters.

(The contract was between PTV-4 and DOT because the President requested that we support the government station.)

"Wala na po akong pakialam kung ilalagay nila sa kapatid ko. There is no conflict of interest because at the end of the day, the contract was between PTV-4 and DOT," she added.

The People’s Television Network, Inc., for its part, said that its P60-million payments to BMUI were backed by required documents.

“PTNI wishes to clarify that the said payments are supported by complete documents as required by COA Circular No. 2012-001 namely: (1) Contract between PTNI and BMUI; (2) Certificate of Performance; (3) duly approved Budget Utilization Request (BUR); and (4) Billing Statement detailing the deliverables,” PTNI said in a statement.

“All other issues and matters stated in these reports have already been addressed and clarified with the Commission on Audit during the recently held Exit Conference between COA and PTNI.”