By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed Sunday that the two police security details assigned to radio personality Erwin Tulfo were recalled as part of a regular “review.”
“Based on standard protocols, the two PNP security personnel assigned to Erwin Tulfo will undergo the regular inspection, interview and debriefing this week following an assigned schedule among all PSPG [Police Security and Protection Group] personnel,” said Police Colonel Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson.
Aside from Erwin, the police security details of his two other brothers, Ben and Raffy, also radio personalities, will undergo the same procedures.
“All authorization of Tulfo siblings will undergo same review process as ordered by [Department of Interior and Local Government] Secretary [Eduardo] Ano,” Banac added.
A Facebook post by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy showed a message from Año ordering the PNP to recall the Tulfo brothers’ police security detail.
Meanwhile, the two Philippine Marines personnel security assigned to Ramon Tulfo, who currently serves as a Presidential special envoy to China, was also recalled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for a review.
Banac, however, clarified that the pulling out of the police security detail of the Tulfo brothers was not connected to the controversial remarks made by Erwin against Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista.
“No connection, but partly na-highlight lang din dahil naka-schedule to report yung security detail niya this week to PSPG for their regular inspection and review,” he said.
Bautista, a retired lieutenant general and former chief of the Philippine Army (PA), received a tongue-lashing from Erwin in his radio program aired last May 27.
Tulfo reportedly called Bautista “buang” or crazy when the latter refused to grant his request for an interview.
Instead, Bautista’s office told the show that they had to write a formal request five days prior to the date of the interview.
“Sino ba itong buang na ito? Pasensya na, maski tao ka ni Pangulong Duterte, le-lecturan kita (Who is this crazy man? I’m sorry but even if you are close to President Duterte, I’ll give you a lecture),” Tulfo was quoted as saying.
Aside from that, Tulfo also reportedly called Bautista a “demon” and even threatened to slap and dunk his head on a toilet bowl if ever their paths cross in the future.
“I apologize for the excessive rants. It’s uncalled for. But to criticize Secretary Bautista, I think I have a right as a journalist and I will not take it back. It is not in our vocabulary to take back our commentaries and it is not [in] our options,” he said.
Amid the issue, some eyebrows raised after learning that the Tulfo brothers were entitled to a police security detail.
But PNP deputy spokesperson Kim Molitas explained that any person “can request security from the PNP when they feel their life is threatened.”
“Upon request, they will undergo threat assessment. If the threat is confirmed, they will be provided security detail,” she said.
Erwin has since been at the receiving end of criticisms after active and former soldiers, including the military colleagues of Bautista, denounced his “irresponsible remarks” towards the DSWD Secretary.
Even the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Incorporated (PMAAI) earlier called out Tulfo for making the “degrading” remarks.
Former PNP chief and now Senator-elect Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa also joined the long list of PMA graduates who defended Bautista.
“Kung sino man ang gustong mambastos at manakit sa napakabait at napakamaginoong upperclassman ko na ito, dumaan muna kayo sa akin para makita niyo ang brotherhood ng PMAyers (Whoever wants to disrespect and hurt my kindest and most gentleman upperclassman, you have to go through me and you will see how the brotherhood of PMAyers work),” Dela Rosa, a graduate of PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986, said in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, an online petition at Change.org initiated by Army scout rangers also demanded an apology from Tulfo. It currently has around 7,100 signatures.
Tulfo had already issued an apology for his “excessive” berating of Bautista but he maintained that he would not take back his criticisms against the DSWD Secretary since it is not what the Tulfo brothers usually do.