DOT bidding body blames Wanda Teo, PTV’s Apolonio for granting P120M contract to Ben Tulfo: ‘Di nila sinabi na may conflict!
The blame game for the corruption-laced P120 million ad contract granted by former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo to the media company of her brother, Ben Tulfo, has began.
In the annual audit report of the Commission on Audit, the Department of Tourism’s bid and awards committee (BAC) was adamant in washing its hands off any culpability in the anomalous contract.
BAC told COA that People’s Television (PTV) led by General Manager Dino Antonio Apolonio and DOT’s project officer, Teo’s chief of staff and assistant secretary Arlene Mancao, did not disclose any conflict of interest in the contract to buy ads on “Kilos Pronto”, a program of Tulfo’s Bitag Media Unlimited.
“Insofar as BAC is concerned, no such relationship exists. When the proposal came to the BAC, it is presumed that the same has been reviewed by the staff of the Secretary as it already bore her approval and signature. Thus, questions of propriety and possible conflict of interest should have been addressed by (Teo) as the end-user unit and project officer,” said BAC.
COA noted it was Mancao, reportedly a protege of Tulfo, “who represented that the Secretary wants to have an alliance with a TV station which will not cost that much and will be a venue for DOT to showcase its projects and programs as well as different destinations, events, festivities from all regions.”
COA, however, stood pat on its decision to require Tulfo and PTV to return the P120 million given to Bitag from April to October 2017 because it was a clear conflict of situation between Teo and Tulfo.
Aside from violation of the Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, other anomalies in the Teo-Tulfo deal are:
1) Lack of cost benefit analysis to justify the alternative agency-to-agency mode of procurement which required no bidding. PTV’s low viewership versus ABS-CBN and GMA makes it a poor choice to increase tourism awareness.
2) Lack of fine details on segment type program to be aired in the contract and media plan.
3) Tulfo’s Bitag, not PTV, will get the lion’share or 75 percent of the DOT ad bonanza since the ads were aired frequently and exclusively in “Kilos Pronto.”
4) Bitag and PTV did not give accomplishment reports to justify the release of their payments.
5) Review showed that Bitag and PTV aired the DOT ads at a much lower rate than it committed in the contract.