Tulfo patriarch blasts Topacio for statement on money's return
MANILA - (UPDATED) Columnist Ramon Tulfo on Thursday rebuked his siblings, former Tourism secretary Wanda Teo and Ben Tulfo, over the controversial placement of P60 million worth of ads in the latter's television program.
Teo resigned as tourism chief after state auditors flagged the alleged lack of contract when government station PTV-4 aired tourism ads on "Kilos Pronto," a blocktimer show hosted by Ben and Erwin Tulfo.
Ramon, the eldest of 10 Tulfo siblings, faulted Teo for allegedly failing "to get intelligent people as her staff."
"They would have advised her against signing a contract with PTV 4 where Ben was a blocktimer. A blocktimer is not an organic member of a radio or TV station but one who pays for airtime," he wrote in an Inquirer opinion piece.
He also said his sister was "clueless" that their brother would get the lion's share of the P60 million.
"She was clueless that Ben would get the lion’s share, so to speak, of the P60 million advertising contract. She was only following President Digong’s injunction for all Cabinet members to support PTV 4 which is a government network," he added.
The self-tagged Tulfo patriarch also said Ben, whom he accused of having a "middle child syndrome", should "have known better" than to touch the contract since that "would constitute conflict of interest on his sister’s part."
Ben had instead insisted on his innocence, claiming that the Department of Tourism signed the contract with PTV-4, not his company, Bitag Multimedia Network, his brother wrote.
"No amount of pleading from me when the uproar broke out could persuade Ben to admit it was his fault and not Wanda’s," claimed Ramon.
He said his younger brother, whom he dubbed as the family's "black sheep", told him, "'F**k you! Don’t treat me like a child."
"I am supporting Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s," Ramon said.
TULFO BLASTS TOPACIO
The eldest Tulfo brother also slammed Teo's lawyer and spokesperson Ferdinand Topacio for claiming that the siblings would return the P60 million ad payment.
"When Topacio said the Tulfo brothers, in a family meeting, had decided to return the P60 million, the guy was talking for himself," Ramon said.
He added that Teo made "another booboo" when she hired Topacio.
"The guy is all talk. He doesn’t care about his client; he only cares about getting publicity from a controversy," Ramon said of the lawyer.
Topacio, for his part, branded Tulfo as "ulyanin" (senile), saying he had served as the latter's lawyer sometime in 2000.
"Why would he hire me if I were all talk, di ba?” he told reporters.
Topacio also said Tulfo sought his help just weeks ago for the columnist’s alleged plans to run for senator.
RAMON VS ROBERTO
He also reproached his sister's husband, Roberto "Bobby" Teo, for supposedly failing to resign from Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), an adjunct agency of DOT.
"Bobby should have taken the initiative to resign since his wife was too busy with myriad things to realize that she was, in effect, practicing nepotism in her own backyard," wrote Ramon.
Mr. Teo was appointed to TIEZA by former President Benigo Aquino III. He tendered his resignation when Aquino stepped down in June 2016, but it has not been acted upon, Topacio had said.
DUTERTE FIRED WANDA?
Ramon also said President Rodrigo Duterte "should be commended for sacking" Teo.
Teo's camp, however, had said she resigned "to show that she has delicadeza."
Duterte, meanwhile, said he fired an official recently for corruption, but did not say who it was.