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Raymart, Claudine file countercharges vs Mon Tulfo

TIT FOR TAT. Actress Claudine Barretto and husband Raymart Santiago file countercharges against Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo in a Pasay City court on Wednesday. RAFFY LERMA

Show biz couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto Wednesday slapped Inquirer columnist and radio host Ramon Tulfo with countercharges of physical injuries and child abuse in the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office over the brawl at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3 on Sunday.

Santiago did most of the talking as his wife kept her silence, upon advice of their counsel, Alex Avisado. The lawyer said the couple were still contemplating whether to press another set of charges against Tulfo’s brothers, who issued threats against them on television.

The actor told reporters how his family was doing, especially their children Sabina and Santino, who he said would undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine whether they suffered emotionally as a result of the attack.

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In the couple’s complaint, they told their version of the events that led to the one-sided brawl, a video of which went viral.

Contrary to Tulfo’s claim that only Barretto had complained at Cebu Pacific’s passenger assistance desk, the couple said “we [the Santiagos] lodged our complaint.”

Raymart’s story

While talking with the ground staff, they “noticed a man taking photos of Claudine using his cellular phone.”

Santiago approached the man and asked what he was doing.

“In response, the man sarcastically smiled and without any provocation, threw several punches and kicked Raymart,” the complaint said. “Raymart instinctively fought back and tried to defend himself, but was immediately restrained and pacified by several airport security personnel.”

After both men were separated, Barretto went to the man to ask him “why he hit Raymart.” She was pushed and kicked by Tulfo, “the strong force caus[ing] Claudine to ram against the counter” and sustained abrasions and bruises.

Raymart came to the rescue of his wife, whom he described to be “on the receiving end of this man’s senseless violence.” A certain Edoardo Benjamin Atilano also rushed to Raymart’s side.

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They said they only came to know that the man was Tulfo when they saw each other again at the airport police station.

The couple said their children apparently suffered from psychological and emotional trauma, with both of them not wanting to be left by their parents “fear[ing] that a ‘bad man’ would again hurt us.”

Commenting on the purported apology aired by Erwin Tulfo on radio, Santiago said that he did not personally hear about it and that from what he learned, the apology was “directed to the public.”

“I could have let this slip away, the punches and the kicks to me. I could forget it,” he said.

“But hitting my wife,” Santiago said, pausing briefly to gather his composure as he appeared to be overcome with emotion. “That I will never let pass.”

‘First part’ of brawl?

Santiago appealed to potential witnesses at the airport who might have recorded the “first part” of the brawl, which was their account of events. He said the viral video on YouTube and other video-sharing websites was merely “the second part.”

For his part, Avisado said the couple were still mulling whether to sue Tulfo’s younger brothers—Erwin, Raffy and Ben. But when Santiago was asked about it, he answered in the affirmative.

The actor said his family’s routine had been changed after the threats against him and his wife. He said he had sought security assistance from the Philippine National Police.

“Before this, I went out by myself. I jogged by myself,” Santiago said. “But now, I have to leave the house with companions.”

He said that some of his neighbors had told his family that they had noticed vans roaming around their house in Quezon City.

Asked to elaborate on his claim, Santiago looked at his lawyer before saying he would reveal more details “in due time.”

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TAGS: airport brawl, Claudine Barretto, NAIA, Ramon Tulfo, Raymart Santiago
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