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MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accepted the resignation of his tourism secretary, the ninth official to leave his cabinet after the state audit agency flagged a questionable deal in her department.

Wanda Tulfo-Teo, a small tourist operator from the president’s southern home town of Davao City prior to her current role, was engulfed in controversy after a department advertisement worth $1.2 million ended up on her brother’s television show for a state-run network.

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Confirming the resignation, Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said, “I think Secretary Teo, being a close associate of the president, did what she thought was the best course of action, and we thank her.”

Roque said the resignation was not an admission of guilt as the president’s office would leave the country’s ombudsman to determine the public officials liable for any wrongdoing.

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