Montano Faces Litany of Complaints over Alleged Pocketing of more than P9 M, 3 Months after His Appointment

The newly-appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), controversial actor Cesar Montano, is facing a series of complaints filed by his own subordinates over alleged misspending, and several other misconducts.

Last week, TPB employees sent a formal letter to the Presidential Action Center (PACE)— frontline desk in the Office of the President — outlining their concerns and complaints against Montano, only three months after his appointment to the post by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Inquirer got hold of a copy of the letter, sent by a TPB officer.

Topping the list of 24 grounds for the TPB employees’ complaints was the claim that on Jan. 18, Montano entered into an P11.2-million contract with Carat Philippines in which he performed as a guest singer together with his nieces.

The second ground for the complaints was that he brought in a team and consultants whose functions were already being rendered by incumbent employees.

Among three coterminous and confidential consultants was Rommel Montano, a brother of Montano, who, before his appointment, was mostly known as a TV/film actor.

The complaint also listed bit actors (stunt men), a nephew of the wife of Rommel, a daughter of the COO’s best friend, and a childhood friend of the COO among 17 consultants.

 P16.5M for Luneta rally

Perhaps the most glaring complaint was No. 18, in which the employees said that the“TPB received a number of proposals for concerts and entertainment. These proposals are approved by Montano, without considering the recommendation of the proper department under its purview. These concerts/entertainment are in the millions of pesos. And these might just bleed the coffers of the TPB dry.”

The complaint specified that the TPB released P16.5 million in cash for a rally in support of Mr. Duterte on Feb. 25 at Manila’s Rizal Park, with Carat Philippines as producer and Montano as one of the performers.

The TPB, the complaint noted, also provided sponsorship money to the “Jadine US & UAE Concert Tour 2017” in the amount of P12 million, in spite of the marketing communications department’s negative recommendation.”

In one instance, the complaint added, “Montano went to Boracay with his staff without any itinerary,” and that “most of his domestic trips are not part of TPB’s work program and he would charge it to TPB funds.”

Last straw

In the complaint, TPB employees noted Montano’s erratic behavior during meetings, and that “he rarely reports to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo for direction so that TPB’s programs can be aligned with that of the DOT’s.”

TPB employees also noted that Montano allegedly pocketed at least P9 million pesos out of total P39.7 million pesos released by TPB.

The Inquirer tried to reach Montano to get his side, but he had not responded at press time. /Nikki Maliksi/

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