MANILA, Philippines—The brothers Ben, Raffy and Erwin Tulfo of the TV5 show “T3” have been charged in a Quezon City court with grave threats for threatening celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto on national television a day after their eldest brother Ramon figured in an airport brawl with the couple in May.
Six months after the incident, assistant city prosecutor Rowena Balagtas recommended the filing of charges against the three brothers, whose show was also suspended for three months by the Movie Television Review and Classification Board because of their on-air remarks.
Charges of grave threats were lodged against the Tulfos—two counts each for Erwin and Raffy, one count for Ben— in the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court on Friday. Their brother Ramon is an Inquirer Metro columnist.
Balagtas noted that the respondents’ demeanor, tone and facial expression indicated that “the threats were made with deliberate purpose of creating in the minds of the persons to whom [they were] addressed the belief that the threats would be carried into effect.”
“The threats uttered by the respondents alluded to the infliction of physical harm upon the complainants (Santiago and Barreto).… The threats were consummated as soon as complainant spouse heard the statements of the respondents on TV on May 7, 2012,” the prosecutor said in a resolution.
Balagtas, however, dismissed the slander complaints against the Tulfos for lack of merit.
The case stemmed from a May 6 brawl between Ramon Tulfo and the couple, who were then travelling with an entourage, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. It all started when Claudine confronted Ramon for taking a video of her as she was complaining to an airline employee.
According to the complaint, the couple caught the “T3” program the following day and heard Ben, Erwin and Raffy lashing out at the couple in defense of their brother.
Raffy was heard telling the couple in Filipino to “pray and light a candle from now on” lest they cross paths at the mall. Erwin purportedly said: “We’re not yet done, Raymart. Just wait for it. Wait for the terrible vengeance of the Tulfos (lintik na ganti ng mga Tulfo).”
Ben allegedly added: “I go up against criminals, murderers. You seem to be a good fellow, but if you like we can meet and lock ourselves up in a big warehouse. Ambulances will be waiting. There will only be one man left standing. Let me see how good you are.”
In her resolution, Balagtas also noted that the Tulfos failed to appear and submit counter-affidavits despite being notified of the preliminary investigation of the complaint.