Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo declared persona non grata by PH military academy association

Coconuts Manila

Things are not going well for broadcaster Erwin Tulfo.

A few days after the Philippine National Police (PNP) pulled out his police escorts and told him to surrender his firearms, the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Incorporated (PMAAAI) yesterday declared him a persona non grata for attacking Social Work Secretary and former general Rolando Bautista on his radio show.

In a statement released to the media yesterday, the PMAAAI said that Erwin’s criticism of Bautista on his radio program Tutok Tulfo late last month was a violation of the broadcast code of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the journalist’s code of ethics of the National Press Club, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and the Revised Penal Code.

Erwin threatened to slap and drown Bautista in a toilet after the latter refused to give him a phone interview for his radio show. He also cursed Bautista and called him crazy.

In their statement, the PMAAAI said they took offense with what Erwin said and strongly condemn Erwin’s “boorish” behavior. The PMAAAI said that moving forward, Erwin’s presence, including by proxy, in events organized by the PMAAAI and its affiliates “shall not be appreciated.”

The PMAAAI also said that Erwin will be stripped of the “privileges and courtesies” granted to other members of the media in such events.

The statement was signed by Rufo de Veyra, the chairman and chief executive officer of the PMAAAI; Arthur Bisnar, the president and chief operating officer; and Connor Anthony Canlas, the corporate secretary.

The PMAAAI’s members are graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the military school of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Like many soldiers, Bautista is a graduate of the PMA.

Last week, the PNP recalled the Tulfo family’s police escorts, with PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde, another PMA alumni, saying that Erwin’s on-air attack on Bautista influenced their decision.

Erwin had two police escorts. His brothers Raffy Tulfo, Ben Tulfo, and Raffy’s wife Jocelyn Tulfo, a newly-elected party-list representative, also had escorts.

But it didn’t end there. A few days after ordering the recall of the Tulfo family’s police escorts, the PNP told Erwin to surrender his firearms because his license to own and possess them expired in May. It’s unclear if Erwin has already surrendered them, but the PNP said they could issue a search warrant if he refuses to give them up.

Erwin has already apologized twice to Bautista, but the latter said that he would only accept the broadcaster’s apology if he has it advertised in major newspapers, radio stations, and on various social media platforms. He also ordered Erwin to donate PHP300,000 (US$5,777) each to 19 organizations of Bautista’s choice.

As of writing, Erwin hasn’t given in to Bautista’s demands but his brother Ben has attacked Bautista on Twitter on Saturday. Without mentioning Bautista’s name, Ben wrote: “When someone is humbling himself and admits his mistakes, it doesn’t mean he’s afraid [of you]. You’re full of crap. Or is it because you have so many needs, and you just want the donation?”

Ben also added the hashtag #thecolorofmoney.

The Tulfo family is known for their tough-talking personas and vocal support of President Rodrigo Duterte. Erwin and his brothers Ramon Tulfo, Raffy, and Ben are also broadcasters, while his sister Wanda Teo was a former secretary of the Tourism Department. Ramon is also a special envoy to China.

The Tulfos became embroiled in a controversy last year when Teo, who was then tourism’s secretary, was accused of paying PHP60 million (US$1.146 million) to Kilos Pronto, a show which Erwin co-hosted with Ben, who is also the producer.

Teo denied that there was a conflict of interest in her decision to pay Ben the big sum, but she ended up resigning from her post in May 2018. Ben remains adamant that he won’t return the money to the government.

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