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Questions on Teo’s resignation

The resignation of Wanda Tulfo Teo raises several questions.

First, will her resignation erase her responsibility and accountability for the mess in connection with the Department of Tourism’s advertising placements in the government television station? Wasn’t the conflict of interest apparent to her or her brothers, who had a blocktime arrangement with PTV-4?

Wasn’t there also conflict of interest when Teo’s husband remained director of a corporation under the DoT?

In an earlier column, I said that the ad placement issue may just be the tip of the iceberg.

The findings of the Commission on Audit that the Tulfos’ media company lacked the necessary paperwork showed the utter incompetence of PTV-4 officials. And since it is Secretary Martin Andanar who heads the Presidential Communications Operations Office, he must also be held accountable.

I know how TV and radio blocktimers operate. They buy airtime. It’s their responsibility to solicit advertisements.

The role of the radio or television network is to see to it that the blocktimer complies with its rules and regulations. The blocktimer just has to obtain approval from the station that the placements were done. But it is the blocktimer who gets paid for it. An investigation would easily show to whom the payments were made.

My gulay, Teo cannot claim ignorance on where the money went.

Teo resigned instead of waiting for the President to fire her. The fact that her brothers said they would return the money made it worse for her—that’s practically an admission of guilt.

Senator Nancy Binay is bent on investigating the DOT mess. The Senate should find out why the government station sells its airtime and allows blocktimers to subsequently sell air time. PTV-4 is not a commercial station.

The Senate should also look into how government-owned and -controlled corporations and financial institutions spend their advertisement money.

Santa Banana, these are all cans of worms waiting to be opened!

* * *

I am sure Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno knows what hit her. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the quo warranto petition which questions the legality of her appointment owing to her lack of qualifications.

Being Chief Justice, Sereno must know what is going on—and what the decision will be.

Reports have it that Sereno is already talking to some justices she still considers her friends. She is packing her things, aware of the tsunami coming her way.

Despite the secrecy attendant to such high-profile decisions, there is always a leak.

I know this first hand because many years ago, I spoke with a Supreme Court justice at a wedding we both attended. This was a time when Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was charged and detained for his alleged complicity with the many coup attempts of then-Reform the Armed Forces Movement Col. Gringo Honasan.

Said justice confirmed to me that the court had already decided on Enrile’s case, but a female justice close to President Corazon Aquino was withholding the promulgation of the decision.

I was threatened with contempt by the Supreme Court. I was made to appear before the justices. I did appear, but invoked my right as a journalist not to reveal my source.

For that, the Supreme Court cited me for contempt, not as a journalist but as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, According to the ponencia, I was writing as a lawyer. I consider that a strange decision. In fact, that case became a Bar question many years ago.

* * *

The decision of the Court of Appeals to dismiss the administrative case against former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay over the allegedly fraudulent construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall parking building may well be a landmark decision.

The CA’s Tenth Division nullified the joint declaration by the Office of the Ombudsman which found Binay, along with 18 other city officials, guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for irregularities committed for alleged overpricing in the procurement of the architectural design and engineering services and construction.

In ruling against the Ombudsman, the appellate court said the anti-graft body or Sandiganbayan committed an error in ordering Binay’s dismissal since the Condonation Doctrine should have been applied. An erring public official is deemed forgiven for his acts in his past term once he is reelected.

The CA was emphatic that given the factual circumstances ad the prevailing jurisprudence, Binay Jr.’s reelection in 2013 is a condonation of his administrative liabilities.

Binay is now vindicated. Congratulations, Junjun.

* * *

Another case of “whiff of corruption” being investigated are the travel expenses and allowances of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. OIC Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said dela Serna spent P627,293 in just one year despite the agency’s massive net loss.

Topics: Wanda Tulfo Teo , Department of Tourism , Rodrigo Duterte , Harry Roque , Commission on Audit , Maria Lourdes Sereno , Court of Appeals
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