CONFLICT OF INTEREST? | COA says Teo liable for graft over PTV ad deal

7 months ago

JULY 12, 2018 – The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged as a possible conflict of interest the P120-million ad deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and state-run media outlet PTV-4 making former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo liable for graft.

The report revealed that 75% or about P90 million of a P120-million contract was paid out to a media firm owned by Teo’s brothers.

“Considering that the DOT secretary and the producer of Kilos Pronto are siblings, there is a possible conflict of interest which may be a violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the report read.

Teo resigned in May after the COA questioned her department’s deal with Bitag Media, owned by her brother Ben Tulfo.

According to the report on DOT, there were no supporting documents in the payment to Bitag Media and there were also inconsistencies with the frequency in airing of the DOT ads.

“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 and telecast of the DOT TVC, segment and program, pending the submission of the lacking documents as stated above,” the report said.

Teo, however, denied the allegations and insists that her conscience is clear.

“My conscience is clear. I am confident that during my stint as Department Secretary, I did not commit or knowingly allow any violation of the [Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act] or any other law for that matter.” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales welcomed the COA report and has asked the commission to furnish them copies of it.

“We are still under a fact-finding investigation. We are awaiting reports and if the COA has not furnished us a copy of the report yet then we will certainly ask them to furnish us copies,” Morales said in an interview.

“It will certainly help us investigate the case but we are not bound by the COA reports. But they will certainly enlighten us in our investigation” she added.

Malacañang on the other hand said they are expecting the Tulfos to return the controversial P60 million it got from the advertisement deal from the DOT.

“We’re confident that the Ombudsman will eventually perform and discharge its constitutional duty and charge those who are responsible, if there are sufficient evidence,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.