Malacañang on Tuesday confirmed that Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo has submitted her resignation.
Teo tendered her resignation after the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the PHP60-million payment by the DOT for ad placements on the television show hosted by her brothers Ben and Erwin Tulfo in PTV 4, a state-run TV network.
“I have a confirmation. There was a resignation letter that was submitted to the Office of Executive Secretary before the meeting with the President last night,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a Palace press briefing.
Roque, however, said there was no confirmation whether President Rodrigo R. Duterte has accepted Teo’s resignation.
“That’s why I would be waiting today. I still have no confirmation,” Roque said.
He said Duterte and Teo had a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
When asked if possible criminal liability would still be pursued against Teo, Roque said he is not privy to the investigation conducted by the Office of the Secretary and the Office of the Ombudsman.
“It has to be investigated by the Ombudsman to determine if there is a probable cause. That is the responsibility of the Ombudsman,” he said.
Roque said he could not confirm whether Teo has submitted an “irrevocable” resignation which, her lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said was submitted before the start of the Cabinet meeting.
“Her letter was personally handed by her to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in the afternoon. Late in the evening, after the Cabinet meeting was when she saw the President talked to him in private,” Topacio said in a press statement shared to Palace reporters.
Topacio said Teo decided to step down “after a long and deliberate reflection and soul-searching with respect to the events that have transpired the past few weeks”.
“We wish to clarify that there was no demand made on the part of the President for Secretary Teo to resign, and that the decision was purely of her own volition,” Topacio said.
He reiterated that Teo 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”.
As secretary of tourism, Teo has done her best to promote tourism both domestically and internationally, Topacio added.
“Teo wishes to express her gratitude to all those who have stood by her in her trying times — her immediate family and her official DOT family,” he said. (PNA)