MANILA – Malacañang ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to start its move to retrieve the P60 million in ad placement fees paid to broadcaster Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the DOJ should now make its move as Tulfo refused to return the ad money involving a transaction that was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“The Palace always wants that laws are not only enforced but are obeyed to its fullest extent. As we said there are no sacred cows in this government, friends or allies,” Panelo said.
“[It] depends on the DOJ, because it’s their call,” said Panelo when asked if they will give deadline to the DOJ. “They will have to do something legally about it.”
The issue stemmed from a 2017 COA report which showed that state-run People’s Television Network paid P60.010 million to Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc. for the airing of DOT advertisements on Tulfo’s program Kilos Pronto.
Tulfo announced in July 2018 that they would not return the amount, saying the transaction was above board and that they did not steal from government coffers.
The Office of the Ombudsman, which has primary jurisdiction to probe and prosecute officials suspected to have been involved in graft and corruption, is already looking into the deal./PN