Published: Tuesday 08 May, 2018

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is the New DOT Secretary After Teo’s Resignation

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as the new secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT). Romulo-Puyat replaces Wanda Teo who resigned this week amid the P60-million ad placement controversy on her brother’s production company.

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture (DA). In an interview with the Philippine Star Tuesday night, Romulo-Puyat said Duterte so casually offered her the DOT post that she thought he was kidding.

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told Philstar that she was in Malacanang attending a National Food Authority Council meeting when Duterte told her, “Wala na si Wanda, gusto mo ikaw? Bagay ka. Your credentials speak for themselves.”

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has Served 3 Presidents

The new DOT secretary has been in public service since the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Romulo-Puyat was then a consultant under the Presidential Management Staff. Ten, under President Noynoy Aquino, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat was Undersecretary for Special Concerns at the Department of Agriculture.

Before being appointed by Duterte as the replacement of Wanda Teo, Romulo-Puyat was the Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing, and Regional Engagement of the DA.

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Who is Bernadette Romulo-Puyat?

She comes from a family of exceptional public servants. Her father is former senator Alberto Romulo (1987-1998), who also served Budget Minister under President Cory Aquino, and Majority Floor Leader of the Senate from 1991 to 1996. Bernadette’s father was also Secretary of Finance, Executive Secretary and Secretary of Foreign Affairs under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Bernadette’s mother is Lovely Romulo, the former Chairperson of the National Council on Disability Affairs, while her brother, Roman Romulo, is a former congressman from Pasig City. He ran for senator in 2016 but did not make the Magic 12.

Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is the granddaughter of renowned Filipino statesman Carlos P. Romulo, who was formerly a Foreign Affairs Minister and President of the United Nations General Assembly.


Wanda Teo resigned on Monday, according to her legal counsel, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio. She was not fired by President Duterte nor did the president ask for her resignation, reiterated Topacio amid reports that Teo was sacked after Monday night’s Cabinet meeting. Teo personally handed her resignation to the Executive Secretary on Monday afternoon before the Cabinet meeting. Topacio said she did it out of delicadeza.

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Political observers are saying she did the right thing. Being a close associate of Duterte from Davao, the ad placement controversy is being used by his political enemies to hurt the presidency. Despite denying she had a hand in the ad placements, Wanda Teo knew she had to go because the issue is not dying down and, in the end, it might be a political problem for Duterte.

It looked like Teo still enjoyed the trust and confidence of Duterte enough for him not to fire her compared to what he did to other officials in the past when mere hints of corruption caused their demise in government service.

On Tuesday afternoon, Malacanang finally announced that Duterte has accepted the resignation.

UPDATE: DOT Welcomes Bernadette Romulo-Puyat