Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - RAMONTULFO

The is­sue about the sup­posed ir­reg­u­lar P60-million ad­ver­tis­ing con­tract that my sis­ter, for­mer Tourism Sec­re­tary Wand Teo, andmy brother, Ben, en­tered into with the gov­ern­ment’s PTV-4 net­work is be­ing brought up as an is­sue against Pres­i­dent Digong.

I hail the Com­mis­sion on Au­dit for flag­ging the con­tract.

My crit­ics are hav­ing a field day.

I don’t blame them. No mat­ter from what an­gle you look at it, the con­tract was ir­reg­u­lar for Wanda to pour in hun­dreds of mil­lions of pe­sos in ad­ver­tise­ments with PTV 4, where Ben is a pri­vate con­trac­tor.

It was con­flict of in­ter­est, on Wanda’s part.

Crit­ics have been hound­ing the Pres­i­dent, say­ing that Wanda and Ben are be­ing spared be­cause of his close friend­ship with me.

I, as the Tulfo pa­tri­arch, there­fore urge Mala­cañang and other agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate Ben and Wanda.

I also ask that other of­fi­cials of PTV 4, who were al­legedly in ca­hoots with Ben, as well as those in the up­per ech­e­lons of the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tions Of­fice, who al­lowed the ir­reg­u­lar con­tract, be also in­ves­ti­gated.

If war­ranted, all of them should be pros­e­cuted to the fullest ex­tent of the law.

Ben and Wanda may be charged with plun­der, a non­bail­able of­fense, for all I care.

The con­tro­versy has be­smirched my rep­u­ta­tion as well as those of my other sib­lings, Raffy and Er­win.

Af­ter Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Harry Roque was quoted on na­tional TV on Thurs­day night as say­ing that the Pres­i­dent had in­structed all the Tulfo broth­ers to re­turn the P60 million, I im­me­di­ately called him.

If mem­ory serves me right, I told Roque, “Harry, it’s un­fair to in­volve all of us who are in­no­cent. Raffy and Er­win are hurt­ing. Why don’t you just men­tion Ben? Why in­volve all of us?”

Dam­mit, I didn’t know any­thing about the darn con­tract, why should my name be dragged into the mess?

I built and nur­tured the Tulfo name over the years as a hard­hit­ting, no-non­sense colum­nist and broad­cast com­men­ta­tor. I have man­aged to keep my nose clean since 1970 when I en­tered the jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sion.

And yet, in one mo­ment, our name has been tar­nished be­cause of the reck­less­ness of one or two sib­lings.

It’s like the four of us—my­self, Ben, Raffy and Er­win— were in one lifeboat af­ter our ship sank.

The lifeboat could only ac­com­mo­date three pas­sen­gers and one of us had to sac­ri­fice to save the rest from the sharks cir­cling the boat.

You know which of the four of us should be pushed out of the lifeboat.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the con­tro­versy, read my blog, My Big Mouth, at ramontulfo.org/jour­nal, and also at my Face­book page, face­book.com/ ra­mon­tul­foII.

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