Cesar Montano breaks silence on TPB issue
Cesar Montano is no stranger to controversy. It’s been hounding him since he joined show biz.
The plot has thickened, now that he is chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB). Politics is indeed “dirtier” than show biz. But Buboy (Cesar’s nickname) is more than ready for his baptism of fire in the new field he has forayed into.
So much has been written about the letter of complaint filed by anonymous TPB employees against Cesar with the Presidential Action Center.
I find it strange that the employees have the audacity to complain, yet they don’t have the balls to come out in the open if their allegations are 100 percent true.
When the news broke out on March 12, Buboy sent me a Viber message at 7 a.m. Since we happen to be longtime best friends, Buboy and I turn to each other during crises. Our friendship goes beyond the biz.
It’s about time we heard Buboy’s side of the story. With his permission, I am sharing portions of his message to me:
“Recently I discovered discrepancies in the TPB. They (employees) found out that I already knew about their anomalies. So out of desperation, they are attacking me and making up stories.
“(Some anomalies he mentioned:)
1. I didn’t approve a $3.8-M deal with MTV Fusion. It’s ridiculous. The cost can’t be justified. Why spend so much on a concert that won’t showcase any tourist site? They have been doing it for two years [now].
2. I discovered questionable contracts they had [entered into, in] previous years.
3. I had to reshuffle some employees [for] not cooperating and [being] very unprofessional. Some refused to participate at the recent World Peace Conference and “One Korea” concert at SMX.
4. I discovered the Boracay sewerage issue, which they didn’t want me to touch. If we don’t help, the private sector will suffer.”
Buboy has already sent a letter to the Office of the President, which serves as his rebuttal. Despite the controversy, President Duterte has said that he still trusts Cesar.
On the issue of nepotism, Buboy is a TPB newcomer. He needs to bring in someone he can trust, like his brother Rommel, so he can work better. He has not hired any other relative.
On Rommel’s project—a mobile app “SelPhilippines” to promote tourism—which has no approval of the Board, Cesar said: “It’s an independent and private undertaking, which is still being developed. TPB won’t shoulder the cost, but will just endorse it if it pushes through.”
On his “personal” trips charged to TPB, he said he had the necessary documents to refute their allegations.
On his alleged incompetence, he said he does not pretend to be a “know it all,” but he does his homework.
On performing in a concert mounted by TPB with his nieces, he said they performed gratis et amore.
On the tarnished “corporate look” of TPB because it is now besieged by show biz folk, since Buboy is a celeb, his presence in the TPB has made the public more aware of it.
Being Buboy’s BFF, I can vouch for the fact that money does not matter to him at all. He’s generous to a fault. Being greedy is not his style. So allegations of his corruption as TBP COO are preposterous.
Buboy has been through worse. This too will pass. If only those disgruntled employees would give him a fair chance and support him, instead.
Hopefully, the issue gets resolved so it will be more fun in the TPB.