MANILA, Philippines—Three Tulfo brothers on Monday sought a reinvestigation of the grave threat charges filed against them before a Quezon City court by couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto, claiming that they were denied the right to defend themselves from the complaint.
Filing a motion before the local metropolitan trial court in behalf of brothers Erwin, Raffy and Ben Tulfo, lawyer Nelson Borja sought to defer the issuance of an arrest warrant against his clients while questioning the finding of probable cause by the City Prosecutor’s Office against them after their failure to file their respective counter-affidavits during the preliminary investigation of the grave threats case.
Balagtas had recommended the filing of charges against the Tulfos for allegedly threatening on national TV Raymart and Claudine during their “T3” program aired over TV-5, a day after their eldest sibling Ramon figure in an airport scuffle with the couple on May 6.
In his three-page motion, Borja argued that failure to submit their counter-affidavits during the preliminary investigation conducted by Assistant City Prosecutor Rowena Balagtas should not result in the denial of the Tulfo brothers’ rights.
He claimed that his clients neither received subpoenas nor were they informed by their program staff of such a proceeding.
The lawyer cited the right of the Tulfo brothers to due process, wherein they must be furnished a copy of the complaint and its supporting documents as well as be able to submit their counter-affidavits in their defense.
Borja maintained that being afforded the right to a preliminary investigation would most likely result in a change or reversal of Balagtas’ finding of probable cause.
Balagtas had recommended the filing in the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court of two counts of grave threat each for Erwin and Raffy and a count of grave threat for Ben.
In her resolution, the assistant city prosecutor said the Tulfo brothers’ manner of delivery indicated “the threats were made with deliberate purpose of creating in the minds of the persons to whom it was addressed the belief that the threats would be carried into effect.”
The threats, she said, had been consummated and that they alluded to the infliction of physical harm on the Santiago couple. On the basis of this, Balagtas said she found probable cause for the filing of grave threat charges in court.