Duterte likes to ‘recycle’ cabinet officials. Could Teo be next?

May 8, 2018 - 4:01 PM
Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, who was a former flight attendant, poses with the Flying Circus' Boeing Stearman biplane during a DOT press conference on the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga, February 7, 2018. The festival officially starts on February 8 to 11. DOT photo.

Following Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo’s resignation some people expressed their concern on social media about the possibility of her being “recycled” by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Recycled” officials under Duterte admin

Teo is the latest in a long line of officials removed from their post by Duterte but eventually reappointed into government.

Senator Bam Aquino accused Duterte of “sending mixed signals” in his crusade against corruption in the government and pointed to Duterte’s habit of “recycling” officials.

Nicanor Faeldon resigned from his post as customs chief following the China shabu shipment controversy but Duterte reappointed him to the Office of Civil Defense.

Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña was fired from his post as Social Security System commissioner last June 2017 but was reappointed in April 2018 as an undersecretary of the DOT before the ad scandal broke out.

Former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella was appointed as an undersecretary of the Department Foreign Affairs after he was replaced by Harry Roque.

Melissa Avanceña-Ardanas, a cousin of Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña, was appointed deputy secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in March 2018 after being removed from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.

Not all have been “recycled” 

Despite Aquino’s insinuations, not all who were removed from their post under the Duterte administration have found their way back to public service.

Patricia Licuanan was removed in January 2018 as chair of the Commission on Higher Education for alleged excessive travels and has not been reappointed.

Vitaliano Aguirre II, who resigned as secretary of the Department of Justice in April 2018, has not been assigned to any new position.

In March 2017, Perfecto Yasay lost his post as secretary of the DFA after the Commission on Appointments rejected his confirmation on account of his questioned citizenship. He has not been appointed to any government position since then.

Controversial advertising contract

Since the Commission on Audit’s report on the PTV deal revealed an anomalous P60-million advertising contract between PTV and Bitag Media, a company owned by Teo’s brother Ben Tulfo, to air DOT ads, several critics claimed collusion between the Tulfos in facilitating the deal.

Previously, Teo announced that Bitag would return the P60-million but the clamor for her resignation did not end there.

Teo received further criticism when word spread of Teo’s husband Roberto as having multiple seats on the board of directors of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, an agency attached to the DOT.

Roberto insisted that he was not violating any laws but later resigned from his post just as Bitag’s decision to return the P60-million was announced.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an investigation into the PTV deal a few days before asking Teo to resign.