PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the courtesy resignation of Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano, Malacañang announced Tuesday, May 22.
"Resignation letter was accepted," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. told Palace reporters.
Montano handed to Duterte a letter dated May 22, indicating his intent to vacate his post "effective immediately."
Montano, who campaigned for Duterte during the 2016 presidential elections, was appointed as head of TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, in December 2016.
He resigned after newly-appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat questioned TPB's "Buhay Carinderia" project for supposedly disbursing multimillion-peso funds even though it has yet to be inaugurated.
News reports found Montano paid marketing agency Marylindbert International some P13.44 million on March 29, P31.36 million on March 20, and P35.84 million on April 17 for his agency's food project aimed at promoting local food and eateries.
Montano had defended himself, saying it was former Tourism chief Wanda Teo who pushed for the payment to Marylindbert International, since the firm's owner, Erlinda Legaspi, was her "friend."
The release of checks had prompted Puyat to suspend the project, pending review that will be conducted by the Commission of Audit. (SunStar Philippines)