MANILA - Malacañang is looking into Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s involvement in the controversial P60-million advertisement deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the media outfit of the Tulfo brothers, President Rodrigo Duterte’s top aide said Wednesday.
“Wait lang natin, inaalam natin (let’s wait, we are looking into the matter),” Special Assistant to the President Bong Go said in a text message when asked whether Andanar was also being investigated over the allegedly anomalous deal.
“Inaalam pa namin ang buong story po. Lahat sila. (We are still trying to get the full story. All of them.)”
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo is in hot water after the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the absence of a memorandum of agreement for P60 million in fees the Department of Tourism (DOT) had paid to Bitag Media Unlimited Incorporated (BMUI), headed by her brother Ben Tulfo, for ad placements on the TV show “Kilos Pronto.”
The show is co-hosted by another sibling Erwin Tulfo.
As Palace Communications Secretary, Andanar, a veteran broadcaster, oversees state-run PTV-4, where BMUI is a blocktimer.
ABS-CBN News sought Andanar's comment but he has yet to respond as of posting time.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said President Duterte has ordered a probe into the matter.
In its audit findings, COA noted that there was a memorandum of agreement on file between the DOT and the government-owned station "specifically requiring PTNI (People’s Television Network Inc.) to air a 6-minute segment buy in PTV's Daily News-type magazine segment, Kilos Pronto, plus a 3-minute DOT spot within the program."
But it said "there were no provisions for the airtime rates per segment/spot and such other terms and conditions of the commercial advertisement specifically as regards the manner of payment."
COA said disbursement vouchers showed that a P60-million payment was made to the Tulfos' BMUI in 3 tranches dated May 11, 2017, November 8, 2017, and December 15, 2017.
Despite COA’s findings, Teo earlier said she was not aware that DOT's payments to PTV-4 went to her brothers' program. She asserted that the contract was between the department and PTV as the agency "wanted to help the government station" as the President had mandated.
Opposition lawmakers have called for Teo's resignation over the deal.