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Bong Go denies plans to run for Senate seat, says Duterte just joking

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Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go said on February 7 that President Rodrigo Duterte was merely joking when he said that Go’s appearance at the proposed Senate hearing into the P15.5-billion frigate acquisition project of the Philippine Navy would be his “golden opportunity” to become a senator.

“I would like to publicly state that I am not interested in running for a Senate seat,” Go said in a statement.

Go said the President only talked about the possibility of him running for a Senate seat “in jest” during the celebration of the 116th anniversary of the Bureau of Customs “in view of my demand to the Senate to conduct a full blown public hearing and get to the bottom of the frigate controversy.

Go added that he is committed to serving Duterte “til kingdom come.”

“Joke lang ni PRRD ‘yung pagtakbo ng senador. I’m not interested to run kasi I’m committed to serve Mayor Rody hanggang kamatayan, kung di ako mauna. Sabi ni boss mag-appear ako sa hearing,” Go said.

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On February 6, Duterte said in his speech during the BOC’s anniversary, “Kaya sabi ko nga, there was a talk, sinabi sa kanya [Go}, ‘you’ll be called to testify.’ Sabi ko, ‘That is your golden opportunity para ma-senador ka.’”

Go earlier expressed his willingness to appearing in the Senate hearing.

Duterte’s aide for two decades was dragged into the frigate issue after reports surfaced that he allegedly intervened in the selection of the Combat Management System for the warships. He denied the claims and said that he is not privy to the Department of National Defense’s transactions.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer and Rappler published stories on Go’s alleged involvement in the frigate deal on January 15 and 16, respectively.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified on January 17 that his note that the white paper where he noted to have come from Go actually came from the Palace, not Go himself. He added that he can no longer recall who gave him the paper but he merely assumed that it came from Go.

Sources: ( gmanetwork.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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‘Baduy’: Comelec spox calls out candidates imposing their face on Avenger images for campaign posters

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Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez called out barangay and SK election candidates who edit their faces onto the images of the Avengers.

Jimenez addressed the candidates through his Twitter account, where he said the candidates who use such tactic during the campaign period are “dumbing down the elections.”

He tweeted, “#BSKE2018 candidates who use campaign posters with their faces superimposed on the bodies of Avengers are dumbing down the elections. Paano yan? Kung sino na lang ang may pinaka-“cool” na poster, ganun?”

He even mentioned the risk that these candidates may be sued for copyright infringement.

“Ginagawa nyong bobo ang mga botante. Ma-copyright infringement sana kayo,” he continued.

In a separate tweet, Jimenez said that putting their faces on the bodies of the Avengers is definitely not a cool move but a “baduy” one.

“Oh, and btw, actually hindi cool yun ipapalit nyo yung mukha nyo sa mukha ng isang Avenger. Baduy yun,” he tweeted.

However, Jimenez said that the Comelec does not have the authority to ban the use of such campaign posters because it can already be considered as “content-based prior restraint.” He added that the poll body only has control over the size of the posters used and where they are displayed, which should be in the “common poster areas” previously determined by Comelec election officers.

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The posters will only be deemed illegal “if it is posted outside of the common poster area,” Jimenez said.

But even then, there is an exception to the rule – “to display the materials on private property with the permission of the owner,” he added.

On April 11, Comelec released a resolution prohibiting campaign materials to be posted on trees, electrical wires, light posts, waiting sheds, schools, bridges, traffic signs, sidewalks, public shrines, barangay halls, airports, health centers, seaports, public transport terminals, trains and train stations, ambulances, government patrol cars, underpasses and overpasses, public announcement boards, and center islands.

According to Comelec Resolution No. 10294, candidates can only use posters that are up to 2 feet by 3 feet in dimension. Rally streamers should not be bigger than 3 feet by 8 feet and should be taken down right after the event.

The same resolution cited that “any and all election propaganda should bear and be identified by the reasonably legible or audible words ‘political advertisement paid for’ followed by true and correct name of the candidate, as well as the words ‘printed free of charge’ or ‘airtime for this broadcast was provided free of charge.”

The nine-day campaign period for the barangay and SK elections started at 12 a.m. on May 4 and will continue until May 12, two days before the election on May 14.

Sources: ( philstar.comcnnphilippines.com )

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