Tulfos' return of P60-M a 'matter of conscience,' says lawyer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2018 08:00 AM | Updated as of Jul 30 2018 08:01 AM

MANILA - Whether or not the Tulfo brothers will return some P60 million for tourism ad placements is "a matter of conscience," the lawyer of their sister, former tourism secretary Wanda Teo, said Monday. 

Teo's lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said in May that the siblings would return the money after state auditors flagged the alleged lack of contract when government station PTV aired tourism ads on "Kilos Pronto," a blocktimer hosted by Ben and Erwin Tulfo. 

Ben Tulfo, however, said last week that they will not return the money because the transaction was above board. 

"That is a matter between Mr. Ben Tulfo and his conscience and of course, with respect to the consequences of the law," Topacio told radio DZMM. 

Tulfo, he said, previously told him that the siblings did not keep the full P60 million as the payment was distributed to several parties, including the Presidential Communications Operations Office, which supervises PTV.

Topacio also maintained that Teo gave him the green light to announce that her brothers would return the money.

"Sinasabi nga nila, baka raw 'di nakunsulta ang aking kliyente. E di sana po na-disbar na ako ngayon kung ako'y nagbibigay ng pahayag na walang go signal ng aking kliyente," he said. 

(They say that perhaps I did not consult my client. I would have been disbarred by now if I made a statement without my client's go signal.) 

Ramon, the eldest among the Tulfo siblings, earlier denied that his brothers made a commitment to return the money, adding that Topacio was speaking for himself. 

The eldest Tulfo brother also said Ben should "have known better" than to touch the ad contract since that "would constitute conflict of interest on his sister’s part."