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Duterte appoints ex-DA Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as tourism brass

President Rodrigo Duterte assigns former Department of Agriculture undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat as the new Department of Tourism (DOT) chief after Wanda Teo resigned.

Edison Tongol

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Duterte assigns Bernadette Puyat as DOT secretary

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte tapped Bernadette Romulo Puyat as the now secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT), filling the position of Wanda Teo who resigned as tourism chief.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go validated the news on Tuesday night, May 8, just a few hours after Teo publicly announced her resignation. Duterte’s spokesman said that the Chief Executive had already accepted her resignation.

The now DOT secretary Bernadette Puyat is an undersecretary for administration, agribusiness and marketing, and regional engagement at the Department of Agriculture (DA).

She is an economist and the daughter of the former senator and former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary Alberto Romulo.

Puyat worked in government as early as 2005, when she was a consultant to the Presidential Management Staff under the administration of Glora Macapagal Arroyo. It was her superior at PMS, Arthur Yap, who asked Puyat to join him at the Department of Agriculture.

President Duterte had known Bernadette Puyat even before he won the presidency.

Teo, whom Puyat is replacing, resigned after a potential conflict of interest matter involving a television show of her brothers, Ben and Erwin Tulfo.

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier disputed the P60 million ($1.15 million) paid by the tourism department for an advertisement placements on the TV show of the Tulfo brothers.

The Malacañang Palace said any investigation into the issue is now ongoing in the Office of the Ombudsman.

“It has to be investigated by the Ombudsman for probable cause…. We expect the speedy and transparent investigation of the Ombudsman,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing on Tuesday, May 8.

On the same day, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that her office has kicked off a fact-finding investigation.

The COA reports – if proven guilty – could fall under Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. But Roque claimed that all the elements of the must be proven. – CENTRIONEWS.COM

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