PNP: Tulfo rant led to guards’ recall
MANILA, Philippines — Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the Philippine National Police chief, admitted on Monday that Erwin Tulfo’s on-air tirade against retired Army chief and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista was one of the reasons for the recall of the police escorts assigned to the broadcast journalist and his brothers.
“That is one factor. That’s one issue. I am sure nobody will believe us if we say that this has nothing to do with that. It has something to do with his comments [against] the secretary … But that is not the main reason,” Albayalde told reporters at Camp Crame.
According to him, another factor was the behavior of the person being guarded.
“Imagine if you are giving protection to a person who is against you. What would you do? It’s like you gave him a gun he would use against you,” Albayalde said, adding: “Of course good moral character is a criteria like [when you apply for a license to possess] firearms.”
“What if you provide security to a person who will bully, not only members of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] or PNP or a secretary for that matter, and yet he is being protected by police personnel? What would the people say or feel [if] he is being protected by no less than the PNP?” Albayalde explained.
“That would look bad in the public’s eyes if bullies, not necessarily Mr. Tulfo, boast of having policemen as security. I think that’s not good,” he said.
Albayalde stressed that assigning policemen to guard a person was a “privilege” that “[could] always be revoked anytime especially when there are incidents.”
Brig. Gen Filmore Escobal, the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) director, said the recall of the eight policemen assigned to secure Tulfo and his brothers Ben and Raffy, as well as Raffy’s wife, ACT-CIS party list second nominee Jocelyn Tulfo, was “part of [PSPG’s] regular process to periodically review availment of protective security personnel by protectees.”
He told reporters that whether the Tulfos would continue to enjoy that privilege would depend on the results of the review, which would last from one to two weeks.
Earlier, the AFP also recalled the Marine personnel assigned to Ramon Tulfo, the eldest of the brothers, who is currently special envoy for public diplomacy to China.
But the AFP and PNP had earlier denied that the recall of their security personnel was related to Tulfo’s rant against Bautista.
Active, retired officers react
In a statement on Monday the Association of Generals and Flag Officers expressed alarm over Tulfo’s abuse of press freedom in using “profanity and crude language” to call Bautista’s attention.
“Mr. Tulfo’s outburst during his program ‘Tutok Tulfo’ portrays unprofessional conduct of a media practitioner, sets [a] bad example [for] striving and future mediamen, and leaves [a] negative impression [on] the general public,” the group of retired and active military officials said.
Tulfo came under fire last week when he called Bautista crazy for not granting his request for a live interview on his radio program.
During an on-air rant, he threatened to slap the former Philippine Army chief and dunk his head in a toilet bowl should they meet. He later apologized for his “excessive ranting” but said it was his duty to criticize government officials.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Malacañang was fully behind Bautista even as he urged the public to accept Tulfo’s apology and move on.
He added that it was unlikely for the President to intervene in the feud between the two. —With a report from Julie M. Aurelio
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