Mon Tulfo: Andanar ‘manipulated’ irregular DOT-PTV deal

MANILA, Philippines – Columnist Ramon “Mon” Tulfo said on Monday, June 3, it was Press Secretary Martin Andanar who “manipulated” the irregular government deal that earned his brother Ben at least P71 million.

“Ben and Andanar manipulated it. Andanar manipulated the whole thing,” Mon told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday morning when asked about the controversial deal.

Andanar has not replied to Rappler’s request for comment.

The Office of the Ombudsman is already investigating potential graft liabilities in the deal between the People’s Television Network (PTV) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in producing and airing travel segments and ads.

Former tourism secretary Wanda Teo, Ben and Mon’s sister, signed the deal that allowed Ben’s production outfit Bitag Media to earn a 75% cut from the deal price, or P89.878 million, pointing to conflict of interest.

Documents obtained by Rappler through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show that as of May 24, 2018, a total net amount of P71.061 million has been paid to Bitag in 4 tranches.

PTV is an attached agency to the Presidential Communications Operations Office or PCOO, which is headed by Andanar. 

The deal was not listed on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps), which is required of any government project to be bidded out.

It was the Commission on Audit (COA) that first flagged the deal for lack of supporting documents. The issue forced Teo to resign as tourism secretary, and even once prompted Ben and Erwin’s camp to say they will return the money.

They have not.

“Sabi ko kay Ben diba ibalik mo, sabi nya bakit ko ibabalik eh ligal naman. So parang chicken and egg, balik mo, sabi nya oh ligal naman yung pagkagawa ko, pagkagawa namin,” Mon told CNN on Monday.

(I told Ben to return it, he said why would I when it's legal. It's like chicken and egg, I tell him to return it, he tells me what he did, what they did, was legal.) 

Mon added: “Ang kawawa dito si Wanda, because Wanda was clueless all along.”

(Wanda is the one at a disadvantage here, because Wanda was clueless all along.)

The Tulfo brothers found themselves in another controversy after Erwin berated social welfare secretary General Rolando Bautista on air after the latter did not immediately say yes to a radio interview with Erwin.

The Philippine National Police later stripped the Tulfo brothers of their security detail, raising questions of why they were given detail in the first place, as these are usually given to current and retired top government officials. (READ: PNP: Tulfo brothers asked for police escorts)

Mon said on Monday he was the first one to be offered security detail during Fidel Ramos’ presidency for having threats on his life supposedly from the terror group Abu Sayyaf. –

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.