In this 2018 file photo Former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and her brother, Ben Tulfo, attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the controversial advertisement placement that the Department of Tourism made with government channel PTV.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Mon Tulfo: Wanda 'clueless', just a 'casualty' in PTV-DOT ad deal
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - June 3, 2019 - 7:28pm

MANILA, Philippines— Columnist Ramon Tulfo, who is also special envoy to China, on Monday said former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, is just a casualty in the controversy over an advertisement deal between state-run People's Television Network, Inc. and the Department of Tourism.

Asked for an update on the advertisement deal, Ramon said he asked his brother Ben to return the P60-M payment for the ads that the Commission on Audit questioned.

The deal was awarded to “Kilos Pronto,” a program produced by Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc.

Bitag is a blocktimer on PTV4 and is owned by Ben. The show was hosted by Erwin, another Tulfo brother.

Ramon said Ben does not want to return the money.

“Sabi ko kay Ben, ibalik mo. Sabi niya: ‘Bakit ko ibabalik e legal naman?’ So parang egg and chicken. ‘Balik, mo,’ ‘O legal ‘yung pagkakagawa ko pagkakagawa namin,” Ramon said on CNN Philippine’s “The Source" on Monday.

(I told Ben to return the money. He said: “Why would I return it, it’s legal?’ So it’s like an egg and chicken [problem]. ‘Return it,’ ‘Oh our project was legal, we did it legally.)

In August 2018, Teo said Ben already spent the P60 million received for running advertisements on their television show.

READ: Teo says brother already spent P60 M; Tulfo insists on not returning money

This was after lawyer Ferdinand Topacio announced that the Tulfos had agreed to return the payment they received from the DOT.

'Wanda knew nothing'

Ramon added that Teo was a casualty in the anomalous deal because she did not know anything.

“Ang kawawa dito si Wanda because Wanda was clueless all along,” Ramon said.

(Wanda was the worst off here because Wanda was clueless all along)

“Ben and [Presidential Communications Secretary Martin] Andanar manipulated the whole thing,” he claimed.

The elder Tulfo said his sister was a casualty “for being clueless and for not having the brightest people around her.”

Teo and her brothers Ben and Erwin have all said the advertisement deal between the DOT and PTV went through the appropriate process.

"There was nothing illegal in the said contract. The transaction was between DOT and PTV-4. It is a government-to-government contract within the executive department and all payments were paid directly to PTV-4," Teo, who was DOT secretary when the deal was approved, said in August 2018.

Teo also denied any hand in the deal saying it was PTV who chose the show the ads would be played on.

In October 2018,  Andanar denied his involvement in the advertisement deal saying he has always believed that government-owned or controlled operations like PTV have their own charter.

READ: Andanar disowns PTV-DOT ad deal he helped set in motion

He said the deal was made out of a “corporate decision.”

A letter previously obtained by Philstar.com, however, showed that Andanar reached out to Teo for a partnership in marketing Philippine tourism. The letter was signed on Jan. 16, 2017 and the COA report on the deal was released in April 2018.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has repeatedly said it is up to the COA to get back the P60 million that went to Bitag Media Unlimited Inc.

WATCH: DOT chief reiterates COA to handle Tulfo's return of P60-M ad payments

DOT MARTIN ANDANAR PTV RAMON TULFO WANDA TULFO-TEO
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