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Malacañang wants Tulfos to return money, Ombudsman to probe DOT ad scandal

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Malacanang would let the axe fall on whoever should be responsible for the alleged misappropriations of taxpayers’ money by the Department of Tourism (DOT) under former Secretary Wanda Teo.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they expect the Commission on Audit (COA) not to sit on its findings on the alleged anomalous contracts, cash advances and other financial mess of the agency last year.

“Well, COA, because it is a constitutional office, it also furnishes the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman – takes a while – but eventually they will file. Okay? So we are confident that the Ombudsman will eventually perform and discharge its constitutional duty and charge those who are responsible, if there’s sufficient evidence,” Roque said in a news briefing in Malacanang.

The most recent of which was the P605.2 million cash advances to 12 foreign Philippine Tourism Offices which the COA found questionable and the P120-million advertising contract granted by DOT to a program in People’s Television (PTV) produced by Teo’s brother, Ben Tulfo.

Apparently, Malacanang is still awaiting the Tulfo siblings’ promise made in public through their lawyer that they will return at least P60 million paid by DOT for ad placements in Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (BMUI).

“Well, sila naman ang nagsabi na ibabalik nila. Well, they said it and we expect them to comply with what they said,” Roque said.