Gordon: ex-DoT chief not off hook

Wanda Teo
Wanda Teo

THE government should continue pursuing a case against former Tourism Secretay Wanda Tulfo-Teo regarding the multimillion-peso ad deal entered with his brother's production outfit, according to a Senate committee official.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon in an interview with People’s Tonight said Teo, sister of columnist Mon Tulfo, is not yet off the hook on the irregularity since investigation on DOT controversies is not yet finished.

Gordon explained that they have not finished drafting the committee report since they still need to continue their investigation on the said irregularity.

This is in contrast with the earlier pronouncement of Gordon that they may file graft and illegal procurement charges against Teo and her brothers after conducting a single hearing.

“Kitang-kita naman na may conflict of interest. Kapag ang magkapatid nagkontrata sa pera ng gobyerno, conflict of interest agad iyan. Ang tingin ng committee,there’s ground to file under the violation of the Constitution and Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, illegal procurement,” Gordon earlier told the media.

Gordon added that officials of the state-run television PTV-4 may also face less serious charges.

He also said there may have been manipulation in the contract when Teo said it was between PTV and DOT and it can be seen in the papers that were signed.

The DOT, under Teo’s leadership, inked a 120 million contract to place its ads on PTV-4. Up to 75 percent of the total deal was supposed to go to the PTV’s block timer, Kilos Pronto, which is produced by Ben Tulfo’s company, Bitag Media.

The tourism department was not able to pay in full because of the controversy. PTV said DOT paid 95 million in four tranches, missing the fifth and final payment. Of the amount, PTV paid Bitag Media 71.6 million. The remaining 19.8 million is PTV’s revenue.

Teo’s legal counsel, Nelson Borja, said the deal was between DOT and PTV-4, insisting it is not their concern if the bulk of the payment went to the company of Ben Tulfo.

In the said Senate hearing, Teo stressed she was unaware Kilos Pronto, which was specifically included in the contract, was produced by Ben Tulfo and hosted by her brothers Ben Tulfo and Erwin Tulfo, and broadcaster Alex Santos.