DOT chief says Tulfos haven’t returned P60M yet

Camille Elemia
DOT chief says Tulfos haven’t returned P60M yet
'I leave it up to the COA kasi sila magsasabi kung may disallowance,' says Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat when asked what her agency will do about it

MANILA, Philippines – Despite their promise, the brothers of resigned tourism secretary Wanda Teo have not yet returned the controversial P60 million they received from the Department of Tourism (DOT) for advertisements in their show.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this when asked on Wednesday, May 30, after her confirmation.

Ah, hindi pa naibabalik (It has not been returned). As of now, ‘di pa ata (I think not yet),” Puyat told reporters.

Asked what the agency is going to do about it, she said: “I leave it up to the COA kasi sila magsasabi kung may disallowance (because they will be the one to issue a notice of disallowance.)”

Teo resigned amid the P60 million controversy involving her and her brothers Ben and Erwin Tulfo. The amount was paid by the DOT for ad placements in the Tulfo brothers’ show Kilos Pronto, aired on PTV-4.

A Commission on Audit report found that the contract signed by DOT “specifically required” PTV to air ads on Kilos Pronto. (READ: FACT CHECK: Wanda Teo claims no hand in P60M ads, but DOT contract specified Bitag)

Kilos Pronto is a blocktimer on state-run PTV, which means it is an independent production company which buys airtime to appear on the network.

Teo’s lawyer and spokesperson Ferdinand Topacio earlier said the Tulfo brothers would return the money.

But Ramon, the eldest, said in his column that Topacio was not speaking on behalf of the family when Topacio promised that the brothers would return the money.

The Office of the Ombudsman said it has already launched an investigation into the issue. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com