COA says Teo may have violated anti-graft law in DOT deal with brother's firm

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 04:17 PM

MANILA - Former Tourism Sec. Wanda Teo may have violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act after her office entered into a P120-million agreement with state-run People's Television (PTV) network to advertise in her brother's show, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in a report.

In the 2017 COA report on the DOT, state auditors said “there is possible conflict of interest which may be a violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

The same finding was contained in the audit report on PTV which preceded Teo's resignation from her post in May. 

According to the report on the DOT, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) did not inquire or request quotations from other television networks nor conduct a cost-benefit analysis as basis for PTV's selection for the ad placement.

The type of the DOT segment and program was also not specified in the memorandum of agreement and in the media plan but based on the airtime schedule, block-timer show "Kilos Pronto" was chosen to get most of the cost of airing and a payment of P89.878 million.

The show is produced by Bitag Media Unlimited, a firm owned by Teo's brother, broadcaster Ben Tulfo.

There were, however, inconsistencies on the number of times the DOT television commercial, segment and programs were aired, which indicate PTV's non-compliance with the MOA.

“Our analysis showed that the actual number of times the DOT TVC (television commercial), segment and programs were aired is lesser than what was stated in the MOA. Our evaluation was only limited to the number of times/frequency of airing/telecast of the DOT TVC, segment and program, pending the submission of the lacking documents as stated above,” the COA said. 

The report cited DOT's comment that the BAC used an alternative method of procurement and noted the “cost-efficiency and economy of the proposal.”

On the issue of conflict of interest, the DOT also told government auditors that “no conflict of interest was disclosed to the BAC by PTV and/or the project officer” and “insofar as the BAC is concerned, no such relationship exists.”

The COA directed the DOT to ensure that all procurement of goods and services undergo bidding procedure prescribed under the Government Procurement Act, as well as the submission of supporting documents that would justify the non-compliance of PTV with the approved MOA and media plan.