​ ‘Kamut balakubak’ moments at Senate hearing with the Tulfos

I don’t know what is more galling: the grossly anomalous contract between the Department of Tourism and PTV4 with the Tulfo Brothers’ Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. or the insolence of the Tulfo brothers. Especially Erwin Tulfo smirking when Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was speaking.

Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo smirks as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV questions him during the Senate Blue Ribbon hearing. Screengrab from CNNPhilippines

At yesterday’s Senate hearing conducted by the Sen. Richard Gordon’s Blue Ribbon Committee, the multi-million transaction between the allegedly cash-strapped PTV and Ben Tulfo’s BMUI defies logic and common sense. It’s impunity of another kind.

The Filipino language has the perfect word for it: garapal.

How can your jaw not drop with this: PTV4 general manager Dino Apolonio said as block timer, BMUI pays the government station P700, 000. Yet, out of the P120 million contract the government station got from DOT, then under Wanda Tulfo-Teo, he put P100 million in BMUI.

So the P700, 000 Tulfo’s BMUI paid PTV4 for the timeslot, came from P100 million PTV4 paid him.

Yan ang sinasabing tubong lugaw.

From the P100 million, P60 million went to a public service program, Kilos Pronto, hosted by Ben with his brother, Erwin.

Kilos Pronto was specifically mentioned in the Memorandum of Agreement between DOT, which was signed by Teo and PTV, which Ramon del Rosario, group head of programing or airtime management wrote.

Asked why Kilos Pronto was specified in the contract, Del Rosario said “it was suggested.” Sen. Risa Hontiveros followed that up and in a matter of a few minutes, he and Apolonio changed their line and said no one ordered or suggested to them “kilos Pronto.”

As Malaya reporter Peter Tabingo said, “Kamot-balakubak” ka na lang. Anyway, Trillanes said they will all be included in the conspiracy to commit plunder, a crime that is non-bailable .

Former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and Sen. Nancy Binay

There were many Kamot-balakubak moments during that hearing. Yung mapanga-nga ka na lang sa sobrang garapal.Like Ben Tulfo perplexed about the issue of conflict of interest: “Ako ay nababagabag sa palaging pino-point out na conflict of interest dahil kapatid ko si Wanda.”

He insisted he didn’t do anything illegal so why would he return the P60 million paid to “Kilos Pronto?”

Teo said the idea of returning the P60 million came from her lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, to show “goodwill.”

She said in the beginning, Ben did not say he was opposed to Topacio’s suggestion. Teo said,"Sabi niya titingnan niya kung saan kukunin 'yung pera. Titingnan niya kung saan kukunin 'yung pera kasi nagasta na niya ang pera."

It was the former Tourism secretary who was firm in her reply that her brother should not return the P60 million: "Natapos na po kasi ang kontrata. Nagastos na po iyung pera... saan kukunin ang pera pambayad?" she said.

Kamot-balakubak na lang tayo.

Teo said the reason why the Tourism ads were placed in Kilos Pronto, a public service program, was it was “sikat.” The government would be able to save money.

Yet, she said she didn’t know it was her brother who is the producer and host of the program when she signed the contract.

Peter Tabingo asked:“Kung sikat ang programa bakit di kilala ni Ate?”

Kamot-balakubakna lang.


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