MANILA - Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday admonished broadcaster Ben Tulfo over the latter's personal attack against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Tulfo faced senators during an inquiry into a P60-million placement of tourism ads on a television show he hosts with his brother, Erwin, when their sister Wanda Teo was still tourism secretary. The transaction allegedly lacked contract and posed possible conflict of interest, state auditors said.
During the hearing, Tulfo confronted Trillanes for supposedly tagging his family as thieves during a media interview about the former's refusal to return the ad money.
"He (Trillanes) said, 'Kaya hindi isinasauli dahil ninakaw na e.' Ang paghuhusga mo nakasira nang husto sa amin. Look me in the eye now, say to my face," said Tulfo.
(He said, 'The money will not be returned because it has been stolen.' Your pronouncement has maligned us.)
Gordon, who heads the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, then interrupted Tulfo, saying: "Let me at this point admonish the witness. Opening statement lang ho ang hinihingi... You cannot address any senator directly. Kung gusto n'yong magtanong, address the chair."
(An opening statement was all that was asked of you... If you want to ask something address the chair.)
"We always adopt a firm and a fair attitude. We don't judge, we investigate. If you want to have your day in court, that will happen; but here, we're investigating in aid of legislation and we will make the proper recommendation," he added.
"Please, tanggalin po ninyo iyung mga sinasabi niyo kanina sa radyo na mga ad hominem... Ang ibig sabihin po niyan ay maaanghang na salita na personal na hindi naman ho kailangan pagsabihan dito."
(Please omit the ad hominem statements you've been saying over the radio... This refers to fierce personal attacks that we don't need here.)
Resuming his opening statement, Tulfo reiterated that the ad transaction had a contract and certificate of performance.
Watch a livestreaming of the Senate hearing here.