Duterte backs Cesar Montano amid corruption allegations

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte fully supports actor turned Tourism Promotions Board head Cesar Montano amid corruption and mismanagement allegations against him.

Duterte said on Monday, March 13, that he continues to trust Montano, after he was asked about the TPB employees' complaint filed before the Presidential Action Center (PACE).

"All they have to do is file a case. If you have a gripe and you think there is something wrong there, file a case, but I trust the guy. Kaya ko in-appoint 'yan. Kung wala ako kumpyansa sa taong 'yan, 'di ko [i-a-appoint] (That's why I appointed him. If I had no confidence in that person, I would not have appointed him)," Duterte said in a press conference in Malacañang.

Duterte believes Montano would not get involved in corruption, as he already has money to begin with.

Asked if he thinks the actor can lead the agency, he said: "That would be an opinion of mine. 'Di na kailangan, may pera na 'yung tao (He does not need to do that, he has money). Destroying yourself with a measly amount? I don't think he would go for that."

According to a document obtained by Rappler, Montano allegedly entered into contracts with producers to hold concerts and events where he was one of the performers.

He is also accused of "unbecoming behavior" – hiring friends and relatives, using public funds for personal travels, and incompetence.

"As we write, the TPB management and staff, together with the board members, tourism private sector, and a number of DOT regional directors lost their trust and confidence in the leadership of COO Montano," the employees said in their complaint.

Montano slammed the complaint against him as "baseless and untrue."

"No one knows who is behind this and the said 'TPB employees' who filed the complaint have neither come forward or presented any evidence to substantiate claims," he said.

Montano was appointed as head of the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, in December 2016.

He is one of the showbiz personalities who actively supported Duterte's presidential bid. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, 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