LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tulfos not out of the woods yet

/ 05:36 PM August 17, 2018

(Editor’s note: The following letter to the editor deals with the ongoing case involving former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and her brothers Ben and Erwin. It was written by one of their siblings.) 

Type the word ‘TULFO’ in the digital space and an algorithm of countless information is at one’s fingertips. In the not too distant future, a curious case study of the Tulfos might be one of the courses in Journalism. Never in the annals of Philippine media has four powerful siblings (brothers) occupied simultaneously tri-media, at one point or another. Equally intriguing, all of them are in the field of public service.


Prior to the controversy, the phrase “ipa-Tulfo mo” was so powerful and popular from Aparri to Jolo. It sounded like a cure-all prescription from the aggrieved and the oppressed. The Tulfos were perceived to vaccinate the ills of society by being hardliners on crime and graft and corruption. Rightly or wrongly, they were likewise perceived as untouchables, the gods in the media industry.

Now comes the fall from grace! From predators, they are the prey at this point in time. To contemplate that the “dilawans” are trying to demolish the Tulfos is too simplistic an assumption and at the height of naivete. In the eyes of the public, the Tulfos had set the bar so high in castigating erring officials from both the private and public sectors. Followers and detractors expect much more from them along this principle.


One of the oldest siblings mentioned, “no matter how you slice and dice it, there is a conflict of interest”. The Senate hearing was just the beginning the detractors were waiting to inflict agonies for the Tulfos. To the legions of supporters/followers of Bitag Media Unlimited Inc., doing ad hominem on Ben Tulfo’s program “Kilos Pronto” certainly had a cult-like effect. But it is unwise and a counter strategy, pending the outcome of the resolution of the Ombudsman.

Remember, the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has a recommendatory power to the Ombudsman. Every twist and turn, the enemies of the Tulfos would try to rekindle the issue constantly to have them vanished in the industry.

Because you are a household name, whether you are the pioneer Tulfo, the Johnny-come-lately Tulfo, or the collateral-damaged Tulfo, you are categorized as one Tulfo by virtue of the surname, when one of the members had blundered. Indeed, the enemies of the Tulfos are waiting for the siblings to self-destruct and crumble. Now is not the time for victimhood-feeling and blame game. Set aside differences. Unite as one Tulfo. The stake is extremely high; it’s all-or-nothing at this juncture. Reclusion perpetua for one or two of the Tulfos, their history be forgotten on the darker side; reclaiming the brand and mystique of its surname on the brighter side hopefully has still power and influence, pride and money. Take your pick! There’s only one avenue for the Tulfos to be victorious! Retreat, regroup, and reassess!

(Bong Mari Tulfo is an ex-seminarian (SVD) who worked in the US as a federal employee for 25 years. He is the sixth of the Tulfo siblings next to Ben, who comes 5th in the lineup with Ramon as the eldest. Bong Mari lives in retirement with his wife, Maria, in Davao City. He dabbles in farming.)

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TAGS: Ben Tulfo, Erwin Tulfo, Philippine news updates, PTV 4 ad controversy, Ramon Tuflo, Tulfo Brothers, Wanda Tulfo
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