By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said President Duterte is letting the legal process to proceed on the Department of Tourism’s (DOT’s) controversial P60-million advertisement deal with PTV-4 when the agency was still under the leadership of Wanda Teo.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after broadcast media personality Ben Tulfo, brother of the former DOT Secretary, said that Bitag Media Unlimited will not return the P60 million it got from the DOT.
Bitag Media Unlimited is the outfit which produces the program Bitag, a block-timer in the state-run television network, where the DOT ads were placed.
According to Tulfo, he will not return the amount whatever happens.
Roque, in his Monday press briefing, said that those who were involved in the advertisement deal should be held liable.
“Since Ben said, hindi na sila magbabalik (that they will not return the amount anymore), [then] so be it,” he said.
“Ang huling deklarasyon po ng Presidente diyan (The President’s last statement on that), and I asked him explicitly, is we will let the legal process proceed. Let the legal process proceed. Let those liable be held responsible,” he added.
Reports also surfaced that there were government officials who were given a cut so the deal can happen. Roque said that they should also face the law.
“Dapat po lahat ‘yun binigyan ng cut mapasama sa demanda. Sino ba ho ‘yan? Well kung sino man po lahat ‘yan, ilabas po ang pangalan, and I’m sure dapat po maimbestigahan sila (Those who were given a cut should be charged as well. Whoever they are, the public should know who they are and they should be investigated),” he said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier said that he is planning on filing plunder charges against Teo and her brothers, Ben and Erwin, over the controversial advertisement deal.
According to Roque, Trillanes’ suit against the Tulfo siblings can serve as a second complaint.
“the matter is in fact within the cognizance already of the Ombudsman so that would be treated as a second complaint. But as far as I know, before her retirement, Ombudsman Conchita Morales said she had already commenced investigation into this matter,” he said.