MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he fired yet another government official for corruption amid reports he showed the door to just resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.
Duterte refused to name the official he booted out, saying he does not want to make a “publicity out of it.”
“Marami akong napaalis sa corruption. Mayroon bago (I have fired so many for corruption. There is someone I fired just recently). It has nothing to do at all with any other reason. I just don’t want to make publicity out of it,” Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly promoted flag officers of the military in Malacañang.
Duterte made this statement following the resignation of Teo as tourism secretary, amid allegations she used her post for the benefit of the media outfit that her brother Ben Tulfo owns.
Teo is in hot water over a P60-million advertisement deal between her department and state-run PTV-4, under which ads were placed in a program produced by her brother Ben’s media firm. The Commission on Audit had questioned why the deal was not backed by proper documents.
Her legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said Teo resigned out of “delicadeza” and to spare the President from further controversy.
Topacio insisted that Teo continued to enjoy Duterte’s trust. He also denied reports Duterte asked Teo resign, following a report from the Philippine Star that Duterte asked her to quit her post amid the controversy.
Tulfo’s media outfit Bitag Media Unlimited Inc, meanwhile, has decided to return the payment in a move Topacio described as a show of “good faith and good will.”
In a related development, the Ombudsman said it would launch an investigation into the P60-million deal. Several senators have also expressed interest in probing the matter.
The Ombudsman has asked the COA to provide a copy of its audit report on the ad placement.
Last month, Duterte accepted the resignation of his law school classmate and fraternity brother Vitaliano Aguirre II as justice chief