MANILA MalacaAang on Monday said it will let the legal process run its course following TV and radio personality Ben Tulfo's refusal to return the PHP60 million paid to his production company by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for a controversial advertising campaign in state-run PTV-4.
Tulfo, brother of former DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and one of the owners of Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc., claimed that the decision to place advertisements went through proper bidding and other legal processes.
In a Facebook post, he said he would not return the money even if your eyes turn white.
Since Ben said 'di na sila magbabalik, ang huling deklerasyon ng Presidente diyan (they won't return it, the last declaration of the President) and I ask him explicitly, is we will let the legal process proceed, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Let (the) legal process proceed, let those liable be held responsible, he added.
Earlier, Teo's lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, said the Tulfos were supposed to return the money although it was not clear to which agency.
The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier 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 the PTV 4 show Kilos Pronto, which is produced by her brothers Ben and Erwin Tulfo.
Teo claimed that the ad placements were done at PTV 4's discretion since her brothers' show had high ratings. However, she eventually tendered her resignation following the COA report.
Topacio also clarified that there was no demand made from Duterte's part for Teo to resign, and that the decision was purely of her own volition.
He reiterated that Teo has done no wrongdoing and that all the dealings of the DOT went through all legal processes, were above-board and done in good faith and with total absence of malice.
Earlier, Roque said the Palace will leave it to the Office of the Ombudsman to probe or file charges against parties involved in the DOT-PTV ad placement deal controversy.
It has to be investigated by the Ombudsman to determine if there is a probable cause. That is the responsibility of the Ombudsman, Roque earlier said.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he will file a plunder complaint against the former DOT Secretary and her two brothers. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency