MANILA - Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Monday defended Undersecretary Gabriel "Pompee" La Viña from accusations that he leaked an audit report that flagged the placement of ads in the television show of Teo's brothers.
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.
Ben Tulfo claimed the COA report was leaked to administration critics by an undersecretary that was previously with the Social Security System (SSS).
The broadcaster did not directly name La Viña, but the latter was an SSS commissioner before President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to DOT last week.
"Hindi naman ako maniwala na gagawin iyan ni Usec Pompee iyan. Iba naman ang kapatid ko, iba rin ako," Teo said in a press briefing.
(I don't believe that Usec Pompee will do that. I am different from my brother.)
Teo said she has been trying to call her brother to clarify this.
La Viña, for his part, said he has "no ambition" to get Teo's post.
He also said he does not know any state auditor. "For anyone to claim that I have any influence over the COA, I don't know what their basis is," he said.
In the same conference, Teo denied there was conflict of interest in the tourism ads 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.
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.