By Gel Santos Relos
The Corona impeachment trial has resumed; Fil-Ams have called on Filipinos to join rallies and demonstrations in Chinese embassies and consulates on around the world on MAY 11 at 12NN, to protest against China’s bullying of the Philippines on the Scarborough Shoal dispute; many Pinoys remain jobless and are living in poverty-- but the buzz among Pinoys worldwide this week has shifted to another distraction.
Making headlines this week is the infamous brawl between Tulfo vs Raymart and Claudine in the airport.
Perhaps, this issue gained traction not only because it was a chismis about the artistas like Claudine Barretto and husband Raymart Santiago vs hard hitting newspaper columnist and broadcaster Ramon Tulfo, in a showcase that excites many Pinoys-- boxing. It has been much talked about because it touches several issues that offend our Pinoy sensibilities.
Cebu Pacific Staff Claimed Claudine Verbally Abused Them
One of them told airport authorities she explained to Barretto that due to weight limitations and for safety reason, their luggages had to be flown to Kalibo Airport, Aklan and that these would soon be brought to Manila. They reportedly tried to explain to Claudine the situation but the actress, they alleged, continued her rant in front of the other arriving passengers.
But Claudine explained she was merely complaining because their bags were left in Caticlan Airport and she needed the medicines of her asthmatic son which were in the luggages.
“Pagbaba ho namin ng airport, naghintay po kami ng matagal sa carousel ng luggage. Walang dumating na luggage namin so lumapit kami sa ground stewardess tapos nalaman namin na naiwan pala 'yung luggage at ipapadala na lang daw,” she said in an interview on DZMM radio.
Cebu Pacific’s Inefficiency Started This?
Many of us who travel can understand the high stress levels in airports, especially when flights are delayed and baggages are lost. But what added insult to injury in Claudine’s case was perhaps the communication glitch in the part of Cebu Pacific.
Instead of making passengers wait forever for their luggage, the airline should have been proactive in informing them about the changes in baggage transport upon arrival, if doing so before the flight took off would not be possible.
Airlines who rank high in customer satisfaction go out of their way to make up for any inconvenience such changes might have caused their passengers through refreshments upon arrival while waiting in the lounge, travel vouchers, etc. Apparently, Cebu Pacific has a lot to learn about being client-centered to make their customers happy.
I have seen a lot of angry travelers channeling their frustration in the airline’s inefficiency onto poor airport personnel. This, however, does not make the behavior of these travelers like Claudine right.
Many also question Claudine's excuse behind her rant-- they say she should and could have brought her child's asthma medications with her in the cabin so she could have easy access to them during emergency.
Ramon Tulfo Was Just doing His Job?
As ABS-CBN reported, Veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo who had also arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 from Davao, witnessed the alleged tongue-lashing of Claudine, and instinctively began to document the incident with his mobile phone.
This irked the group of Raymart and demanded that Tulfo surrenders his cellphone.
Tulfo refused and this reportedly made Claudine mad. She then allegedly shouted at Tulfo. Raymart’s group, along with Claudine herself, then mauled Tulfo.
Tuflo reportedly sustained injuries in his left and right eye. His lips were also swollen from the mauling. Airport investigators learned despite the presence of airport security who tried to pacify both parties, Raymart's group was still able to attack and strangle Tulfo.
Supporters of Tulfo defended him and said that he was doing his job as a journalist, and that the public has the right to know about how a public personality like Claudine Barretto berated ordinary people like Cebu pacific employees.
Claudine and Raymart Invoke Right to Privacy?
Claudine and Raymart were invoking their right to privacy. Raymart said he was just protecting his wife and his family.
But as many kababayans have said, Claudine and Raymart could not invoke right to privacy as the incident happened in a public place. If Tulfo thought this was newsworthy then he had the right to report on it. If other bystanders took videos of this brawl that happened in public and posted them on youtube, would they be accused of invading Claudine’s privacy?
It was just unfortunate that Raymart’s camp would explain that they did not know it was journalist Ramon Tulfo who was taking pictures of Claudine’s rant, otherwise the brawl shouldn’t have happened. Would they treat Tulfo and an ordinary citizen differently?
NAIA Security “Inutile and Useless”?
It has now been a case of the word of Tulfo vs the word of Raymart and Claudine as to how the brawl started, and who provoked and started the fight. ABS-CBN News reported that unfortunately, Ninoy Aquino International Airport management said there was no closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of how the fight started Sunday.
NAIA General Manager Angel Honrado explained that the brawl on Sunday afternoon occurred at the baggage conveyor area, which is not covered by airport CCTV cameras.
Tulfo said the NAIA airport security was “inutile and useless”, and stressed that if only the airport police and security guards did their job, he would not have been mauled.
Kababayans then ask, “If this could happen to known personalities, how can airport security protect ordinary citizens like us?”
The Tulfo Brothers Threatened Raymart and Claudine on TV
"Ipagdasal mo lang sana, ipapayo ko sa iyo at sa asawa mo, huwag ka munang lumabas ng bansa dahil kapag nagpangabot tayo sa NAIA Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3, tatamaan at tatamaan ka, wala akong pakialam, pati asawa mo tatamaan sa amin. Ipagdasal mo na lamang huwag tayong magkrus ng landas," said Erwin Tulfo on their show “T3” on Channel 5.
"Sa akin, isa lang ang gagawin ko, Raymart pakinggan mo ang sasabihin ko sa iyo. Binabangga ko ang mga kriminal, mga mamamatay tao, pero kung gusto mo, malaking warehouse na sarado, maga-antay ang mga ambulansiya, last man standing, walang lalabas sa loob, magsasara tayo ng pinto, titignan ko ang galing mo. Tandaan mo ito,” challenged another Tulfo brother, Ben Tulfo.
Ramon Tulfo defended his bothers’ on-air threat saying, “Hindi mo masisisi iyan dahil kadugo ko iyan eh. Isang pusod lang kami, isa lang ang pinanggalingan namin. Pero sinabi ko nga sa kanila dahan-dahan na magsalita dahil tapos na ang pangyayari. Mas malakas ang public opinion kaysa gumanti tayo” .
Tulfo supporters argue that T3’s threats were justified, and that in Filipino culture, one would not hesitate to fight back if a member of his family has been aggrieved. They emphasize that this is especially true for Raymart and Claudines’s group bullying and hurting the 68-year old Tulfo.
But concerns and questions still remain: Was it right for the Tulfo brothers to use their own public service program to air grave threat against Raymart and Claudine-- no matter how much they thought their Kuya had been aggrieved?
Yes, they do have as much right as Claudine and Raymart to express their sentiments and explain the side of their Kuya, but such threats that suggest violence should not have been dished out on television.
Perhaps they could have strengthened their Kuya’s case if they made a public statement about Ramon’s side and perhaps urge the public to be vigilant in the investigation and trial of the case.
But suggesting that they can put justice in their own hands sends the wrong message. As broadcast journalists, we have to remember that the use of the airwaves in not a right-- it is only a privilege, and we, therefore, should use it responsibly.
Now did I hear some people blame this brawl on the Super moon? Hmmmm...