Employees of the Tourism Promotions Board filed a complaint against its chief operating officer (COO) Cesar Montano for alleged corruption and mismanagement. The actor is accused of approving contracts with producers for events where he is slated to perform. He is also accused of hiring relatives and friends, going on trips using TPB’s funds, and incompetence in dealing with the responsibilities that come with his post.
The TPB employees have filed the complaint to the Presidential Action Center (PACE) on March 1, complete with details of Montano’s “acts and conducts” that showed his “unbecoming behavior as a government official.”
Among the complaints filed by the employees is Montano’s failure to follow Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo’s order to “divest from his films and private companies.” They said that the actor has failed to submit a Divestment Report, which would show his interests as an actor, film producer, and director, as of the filing of the complaint.
The complaint also named Montano’s team members and consultants, many of whom are relatives and friends and “whose functions are already being rendered by incumbent employees.” This is a violation of Administrative Code of 1987, which prohibits nepotism. Section 59, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 provided these parameters on nepotism: “All appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal governments or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over him, are hereby prohibited.”
They accused the actor of entering into multi-million contracts that have not undergone proper vetting by the TPB offices involved, citing the following concerts and events as example:
- P11.2-million contract with Carat Philippines, an event where Montano sang with his nieces
- P12-million sponsorship of Viva Communications’ event called “Jadine United States and United Arab Emirates Concert Tour 2017”
- P16.5-million sponsorship of the February 25 rally in Rizal Park, where Montano also performed
The TPB employees noted how these multi-million concerts may just “bleed the coffers of the TPB dry.”
However, Carat Philippines issued a statement on March 13 denying the claim that they produced the February 25 Luneta concert.
The complaint also showed that Montano rarely reports to Teo, considering how TPB is under the Department of Tourism. It claims that he also makes domestic trips that are not part of TPB’s program, but would fund them using the board’s funds.
The TPB employees recalled how Montano would “shout at his staff” if he does not get what he wants immediately and how he “always locks his door” and play guitar even during office hours.
But what’s worse was when Montano left a board directors meeting that would have led to establishing a work program for TPB for 2017.
“Succeeding attempts were made by the TPB to call for a board meeting, to no avail. As a result, there is no approved work program as of this writing,” the complaint said.
Here is a copy of the TPB employees’ complaint obtained by Rappler:
Montano was appointed to lead TPB by President Rodrigo Duterte. During the campaign, he was one of the celebrities who actively supported the President.
President Duterte said on March 13 that he still trusts Montano despite the complaints against him.
“All they have to do is file a case. If you have a gripe and you think there is something wrong there, file a case, but I trust the guy. Kaya ko in-appoint ‘yan. Kung wala ako kumpyansa sa taong ‘yan, ‘di ko [i-a-appoint],” Duterte said.
He added that he believed Montano would not get involved in corruption because he has money. As for the actor’s ability to lead TPB, the President said: “That would be an opinion of mine. ‘Di na kailangan, may pera na ‘yung tao. Destroying yourself with a measly amount? I don’t think he would go for that.”
Montano calls complaints “baseless and untrue”
Montano, on his part, has called these accusations as “baseless and untrue.” He pointed out how the complainants have not presented concrete evidence to support their accusations.
“No one knows who is behind this and the said ‘TPB employees’ who filed the complaint have neither come forward nor presented any evidence to substantiate claims. Without proof, anyone can easily fabricate stories with the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of the agency and this administration,” Montano said in a statement.
“It is our hope and prayer that politics do not keep us from our doing job in promoting a safer and drug-free Philippines to tourists,” he added.
“If we cannot work together, it is the Filipino people that ultimately suffer. Despite setbacks and political backlash, this office will continue to serve our countrymen and we thank everyone for their continued support,” Montano said.