MANILA - Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Monday denied there was conflict of interest in her agency's placement of P60 million worth of ads in her siblings' television program, which state auditors questioned last week.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) last year tapped government station PTV-4 to air the ads.
The network, in turn, released P60 million to the show "Kilos Pronto," produced and hosted by Teo's brothers Ben and Erwin Tulfo, despite the lack of a memorandum of agreement or contract, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.
Teo said there is no conflict of interest because DOT entered the contract with PTV-4, not Kilos Pronto'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.
(I had no say on whether or not they would place the ad with my brother.)
The DOT, she said, also paid for ads in other local and foreign media outfits.
BORACAY, SENATE SURVEY BEHIND CONTROVERSY?
Teo also said she expected to be hit with controversy after Boracay was closed to tourists for a 6-month rehabilitation.
"Noong isinara ang Boracay, I knew it was coming. In fact, I had death threats although hindi na lang po ako umiimik. Marami po kasing natamaan sa pag-close ng Boracay," she said.
(When Boracay was closed, I knew it was coming. In fact, I had death threats, but I kept quiet. Many were hit by Boracay's closure.)
She added that the controversy may have been spurred by her move to fire an undersecretary, her siblings' hard-hitting commentary against some politicians, and a survey that saw Erwin Tulfo among top contenders in the 2019 senatorial elections.
PTV 4 last year paid Bitag Media P22.09 million in May, P18.96 million in November and another P18.96 million in December.
PTV-4 management said the transaction was supported by documents, including a contract, certificate of performance, budget request and statement on the completion of deliverables.
COA has asked PTV 4 management to submit supporting documents for the ad deal with Bitag Media.