MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Actor Cesar Montano resigned Monday as chief of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) following the suspension of its "Buhay Carinderia" food tourism project.
In his letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, Montano said he is tendering his courtesy resignation as TPB's chief operating officer effective immediately.
"I am truly grateful for the trust and the opportunity you have bestowed upon me to serve our country through the Tourism Promotions Board," he said in the letter, a copy of which was received by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Montano allegedly released the full P80-million budget for the "Buhay Carinderia" project that will feature street food and local eateries, even before the event started.
In a statement, Montano said the TPB is mandated by law to "provide and extend assistance to private sectors" through the "grant of financial sponsorship and assistance."
"The grant of financial sponsorship and assistance to private sectors is a regular activity of TPB under its annual work program. In addition, under the 2016 Revised IRR of R.A. 9184, the grant of financial sponsorships and assistance is not amongst the procurement activity contemplated by the procurement law," he said.
Montano also denied the "Buhay Carinderia" project was tainted with anomaly.
"This is to correct the impression created by the inaccuracies in the reports that said project is tainted with anomaly and irregularity when it did not pass the public bidding," he said.
Romulo-Puyat last week suspended the Buhay Carinderia project, saying she was not comfortable that it went through a sponsorship instead of public bidding.
She also asked state auditors to review the projects of the TBP, the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism.
"I would like to consider this matter closed - from my active involvement - but trust that COA will get to the bottom of this episode," Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
Montano said he will cooperate with the investigation into the TBP projects.
He was sworn in as chief operating officer of the TPB in December 2016 during the term of former DOT chief Wanda Teo.
Teo resigned on May 8 after state auditors flagged P60 million in ad placements to state-run PTV-4, for a show that was produced by one of her brothers.