No demand from Duterte for Teo to resign

MANILAWanda Tulfo-Teo tendered her resignation as secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) "purely of her own volition," her lawyer Ferdinand Topacio confirmed Tuesday, and clarified that there was no demand made from the part of MalacaAang for the official to resign.

The news about Teo's termination from the DOT post broke out Tuesday morning. Hours later, Topacio, Teo's legal counsel and spokesperson held a press conference, saying "she was not asked to resign."

Topacio said the decision was out of "delicadeza" so as to avoid dragging her family and the administration's name into the controversy.

"Secretary Teo reiterates that she has done no wrongdoing, and that all the dealings of the DOT went through all legal processes, were above-board and done in good faith, and with total absence of malice," he told reporters in Makati City.

"I think she felt that as time went on, and that the issue would not die down, that it was also hurting the President, it might be a distraction from the many positive changes the President wanted to effect in our country and the government," he added.

Topacio said Teo, on Monday morning, initially intended to hold her position, but upon "further reflection" she finally decided to attend the Cabinet meeting and brought her letter of resignation.

Topacio detailed that the letter was personally handed by the former Tourism chief to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea Monday afternoon. Later in the evening, she talked privately with President Rodrigo R. Duterte after the 25th Cabinet meeting.

The resignation came amid the controversy on the PHP60-million advertisement deal between state-run TV network PTV 4 and the DOT.

During the briefing, Topacio said Bitag Media Unlimited Inc., owned and hosted by Ben Tulfo and Erwin Tulfo, would return DOT's PHP60 million payment for its commercials on "Kilos Pronto".

Noting this, he denied Teo's resignation was an admission of guilt.

"We are not admitting guilt as we stated here, it was more of delicadeza to protect the family name and to show the people that the Tulfos do not wish to benefit from any government fund. Just to put closure on the issue, this is not about money," Topacio said.

Topacio added that they have no information yet if Duterte has accepted Teo's resignation.

At the same time, Topacio cleared Roberto Teo, the Tourism chief's husband, had tendered his resignation from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) post "sometime after President Benigno Aquino III left presidency."

The lawyer said Roberto was not appointed under the Duterte administration but by the previous chief executive. "His resignation remains unacted upon, therefore he had to continue to discharge his function as member of the board of directors."

Following the issue, Topacio said Roberto is "strongly urging" the President to accept his resignation.

TIEZA acts as DOT's implementing arm in providing support infrastructures and facilitating investments in tourism enterprise zones nationwide. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency