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Even MILF joins ‘Thrilla in NAIA’

Thrilla in NAIA

By Ellen Tordesillas

Even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has a statement on the May 6 Thrilla in Naia where  columnist/broadcaster Ramon Tulfo  and showbiz couple Claudine Barretto and Raymart Santiago figured in a brawl at the international airport.

In its website, side by side with reports on the peacetalks that the Muslim rebel group is pursuing with the government and the death of its  vice chairman for Military Affairs, Aleem Abdul Aziz S. Mimbantas, MILF deputy chairman of the MILF Committee on Information Khaled Musa  said they are not  taking sides but commented that Tulfo, "has been given the dose of his own medicine."

"Hurting is not only when one is attacked but the more stinging it is when the offended party is the whole community like the Moros. I wish he will stop insulting people now that he has been given the dose of his own medicine," Musa said.

He added: "'Truth is truth and it is not fair to say Ramon Tulfo or the Santiagos are guilty of starting the brawl. Let the facts of the incident come out soon."

Luwaran described Tulfo as ," an incorrigible critic of Moros in Mindanao."

The news item further said that in his column in the Philippine Inquirer,  Tulfo  treat the Moros in Mindanao as "made of sub-race."

The MILF website said, "Ramon Tulfo created so many enemies including the former First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, who was tagged by him as "murderer" and "adulterer'. Tulfo also did not spare the legendary movie king, Fernando Poe Jr., from his tongue-lashing even if the latter was already comatose."

Earlier, Rep. Teddy Casiño of the leftist partylist Bayan Muna, put the blame on Cebu Pacific for the  airport scuffle that has morphed  into other issues  life feminism, media ethics , and press freedom.

Casiño said Cebu Pacific's incompetence of offloading the luggage of  the Santiago couple and that of their friends  without informing them was the root cause of the ugly incident.

Raymart and Claudine and friends, together with their children, came from Boracay.  Due to overbooking, their luggage was  put in a  Cebu Pacific flight from Kalibo. Claudine reportedly berated the Cebu Pacific ground personnel which caught the attention of Tulfo who was coming in from Davao.

Tulfo tried to take pictures of the Claudine's "pagtataray" with his cellphone which Raymart didn't like. Raymart reportedly tried to get the cellphone of Tulfo and that's when the scuffle ensued which resulted in the  hard-hitting  columnist/broadcaster being mauled and ending black and blue.

"In a way that's the trigger of all this brouhaha — if Claudine and Raymart's baggage were not left behind without giving them notice, Tulfo wouldn't have the chance to be a `miron,' (observer)" said Casiño who himself had experienced the airline's incompetence.

To lighten the hostile atmosphere, Casiño suggested that Cebu Pacific  provide  the parties involved in the brawl to a  free, round-trip tickets with a two-night stay in Boracay. "So they can mend fences and enjoy each others' company in a less stressful environment," he said.

That's no longer possible because the fight has now dragged in the three other Tulfo brothers —Raffy,Ben,Erwin — who threatened Raymart  and Claudine in their TV program "T3:Kapatid, Sagot Kita."

Sympathy for Mon was greatly diminished with the brothers'  thug mentality in public display in their radio and TV programs.

Even the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines which  defended Mon Tulfo's right to take pictures of the Claudine berating the Cebu Pacific personnel drew the line on the threats issued by the Tulfo brothers on air.

NUJP Chairman Nestor Burgos Jr. lauded TV5 for suspending the Erwin, Ben and Raffy Tulfo. "No amount of provocation warrants the uncalled for reaction especially from those who call themselves journalists and after Ramon Tulfo had already filed a criminal complaint against the couple. "

Things have taken a twist because TV5's suspension of the three Tulfo brothers didn't impress the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board which imposed a 20-day suspension on the program, "T3:Kapatid, Sagot Kita."

TV5 went to the Court of Appeals crying violation of press freedom.

A feminist angle has also been introduced with writer Katrina Stuart Santiago (not related to Raymart) saying that Claudine's pagtataray was "refreshing."

She said: "That we fail to appreciate Claudine kicking ass the way she has? That is our bigger tragedy."

Now, Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales has entered the picture  supporting  the Cebu Pacific personnel,Charice Bocboc , who was  berated by Claudine.

Rosales said  while  Barretto had the right to complain, she was wrong in assaulting the dignity of the airline employee.

Oh my, where will this lead to?

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