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Sabit na naman? Trillanes wants ‘anomalous’ P647M PCOO information drive probed

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by Xave Gregorio

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV wants the upper chamber to probe into the allegedly anomalous P647.11 million information drive conducted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit last year.

“There is an immediate need to look into the alleged irregularities in the disposition of PCOO’s budget and its irregular expenditures for the aforementioned information caravan in order to ensure that government funds are legally and properly allocated, directed and spent towards the sole purpose for which the funds were allocated,” Trillanes said in his proposed Senate resolution which he filed Tuesday afternoon (May 15).

The opposition senator was heavily relying on a tabloid report, which cited a source who said the Commission on Audit flagged the PCOO’s Asean information caravan which it conducted through its Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC).

According to the report, this prompted CMASC chair Noel Puyat to resign from his post. It is said that he would only be serving until May 30.

This has not yet been officially confirmed by the Malacañang.

The report also said the COA deemed it unnecessary for the PCOO to spend that much for an information caravan, which should have been left to local information officers to disseminate news about Asean.

Trillanes noted in his resolution that this follows “the resignation of then Department of Tourism (DOT) [Secretary] Wanda [Tulfo-]Teo also due to anomalous spending of budget.”

Tulfo-Teo and the tourism department also came under fire after the COA flagged a P60 million advertisement deal with state-run PTV-4, which it said lacked documents.

PTV-4 is also under the PCOO, headed by Secretary Martin Andanar.

The Senate is considering to invite Andanar in its probe into the controversial DOT-PTV deal, which required advertisements to be run on “Kilos Pronto,” hosted and operated by Teo’s brothers.