Gordon believes Teo, Tulfo ‘criminally liable’

MANILA — Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said he believes former Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and her brother Ben Tulfo were allegedly “criminally liable” in the controversial PHP60-million ad placement deal between the DOT and state-run PTV-4.

Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said he agreed with the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA), which showed that there is “conflict of interest” in the DOT decision to place advertisements in the Kilos Pronto show.

Kilos Pronto is a block-time show produced by Bitag Media Unlimited Inc., which is owned by Teo’s sibling, Ben Tulfo.

Earlier, the COA described the ad placement deal as a possible violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt practices Act.

COA said it was a conflict of interest since the DOT, then led by Teo, paid PHP60 million for the ad placements in a show produced by her brothers, Ben and Erwin Tulfo.

Lahat ng sinabi ng COA tama yun (Everything COA said is correct). There’s liability on the part of Tulfo, on the part of PTV-4, of all the other people but it goes down as it goes down,” Gordon told reporters in an interview after the Senate hearing into the controversial ad placement deal.

Kahit na isauli ang pera, may liability pa rin ‘yun (Even if they return the money, there’s still liability),” he added.

Gordon said he could include in his committee report the recommendation for the filing of graft charges against the Tulfo siblings.

He said he did not buy the explanation of Teo, claiming that she did not know that Kilos Pronto was a show hosted by her brothers.

“I don’t think hindi nila alam (they didn’t know). They should have blown the whistle,” Gordon said.

He, however, said he believes that the PHP60 million was used “for TV advertising purposes.”

During the Senate hearing, Gordon questioned the decision of PTV-4 to place advertisements in Kilos Pronto, noting that it had poor ratings.

PTV-4 general manager Dino Antonio Apolonio explained that the network selected Kilos Pronto because the format of the show, a magazine program, is “fitting.”

Teo said it was entirely the discretion of the PTV-4 where to place the ads.

In a separate interview, Ben Tulfo said Gordon’s remark about low ratings was not applicable since his show was canceled in April. PNA-northboundasia.com