MALACAÑANG said on Monday, July 30, that it will let the legal process run on the controversy involving radio personalities Ben and Raffy Tulfo and former Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo in connection with the P60 million worth of government paid advertisements aired on the People’s Television Network (PTV).
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that after consulting with President Rodrigo Duterte, they decided to “let those liable be held responsible“ shortly after Ben Tulfo strongly stated that he has no intentions of returning the money.
In a Facebook post on “Bitag Live”, Ben addressed his critics urging them to file a case at the Commission of Audit (CoA) and Ombudsman.
“Sa mga nagsasabing isauli ang pera… mamuti na mga mata! Wala kaming isasauli! (To those who ask me to return the money, even when your eyes turn white! We will return nothing!)” Ben wrote.
The CoA earlier this year found irregularities in the advertisement deal between the tourism department and PTV’s show “Kilos Pronto.”
In their report, the commission claimed that the ads were not supported by the necessary documents mainly the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the Certificate of Performance (COP).
The report also stated that the former tourism secretary might be found liable for graft on grounds of conflict of interest. Teo denied her involvement in the irregularity but resigned after the issue escalated.
The ads were aired on a program produced by Bitag Media Unlimited Inc., a company owned by Teo’s brother, Ben Tulfo.
In Ben Tulfo’s defense, he wrote in the same post that they were complete in all their contracts and documents. As proof, he mentioned how they delivered and finished the videos aired nationwide, worldwide and in social media. He denied the claims that there was a conflict of interest.
In a report from the Philippine Star, Roque said that those who benefited from the contract should be investigated.
“Those who received (commissions) should be charged… The names should be revealed,” he added.
In a report from The Manila Times, Sen. Antonio Trillanes is said to file plunder charges against the Tulfo siblings for their alleged refusal to return the money.
In another Facebook post, Ben Tulfo responded to Trillanes in a staunch statement. He encouraged the senator to be mindful of what comes out of his mouth considering that he is a senator.
“Act more respectable like most of your colleagues in the Senate,” he added. He also challenged his critic to a fistfight. n