Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano on Monday debunked accusations of irregularities lodged against him, saying these were baseless.
The actor said the complaint against him was filed anonymously.
“No one knows who is behind this and the said TPB employees who filed the complaint have neither come forward or presented any evidence to substantiate claims,” he said.
“Without proof, anyone can easily fabricate stories with the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of the agency and the administration. It is our hope and prayer that politics do not keep us from doing our job in promoting safer and drug-free Philippines to tourists. 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, who flew to Hong Kong on Monday evening, said.
A reliable source told The Manila Times on Monday that it was actually Montano who uncovered anomalies in the agency after he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as TPB head in December.
The source said that Montano tasked his brother Rommel, who is neither an official employee of TPB nor on the payroll of the agency, to investigate a P26-million transaction made by the previous administration for a similar undertaking that would have only cost P5 million to stage. Those involved were said to have been fired on March 9, after which the allegations against Montano came out.
In a complaint submitted to the Presidential Action Center in Malacañang, 30 misdeeds were allegedly committed by the actor, including appointing relatives into positions whose functions are the same or similar to the job description of incumbent staff.
Another is the P12-million contract for a James Reid-Nadine Lustre show where he would play a starring role. Still another is the P16.5 million paid to a production outfit for the Luneta rally staged by President Duterte’s supporters on February 25.
“The P12-million Jadine project in question is a non-issue since it was cancelled. True, there was a proposal but it did not push through. They can check that with Jay Montelibano who is Vice President for Integrated Marketing and Production at Viva Entertainment [the talent’s management company],” the source told The Manila Tines.
The source said that the public meeting was a collaboration between the TPB, the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Metro Manila Development Authority.
“Besides the other agencies involved, funds in government take time to process before a check is released, so the allegation about that is simply untrue,” the source added.
The Tourism Promotions Board, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, is tasked to implement domestic and international promotions for the country.
In an interview with The Manila Times at the Ani Ng Dangal awards in February, Montano said his priority was to attract film tourism to the country, in the same way that New Zealand and Australia have become popular as movie settings.