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Bigger issue in Tulfo-Barreto airport row

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LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, `Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, `I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’…” (Matthew 18:21-22, the Holy Bible).

BIGGER ISSUE IN THE TULFO-BARRETO AIRPORT SCUFFLE: The scarred faces and bruised egos aside, the bigger issue that must be addressed in the Ramon Tulfo-Raymart Santiago-Claudine Barreto Sunday, May 6, 2012 airport scuffle, is press freedom.
What right does anyone, Santiago and Barreto included, to be demanding from a media man like Tulfo, or any other person for that matter, to surrender a camera or a cellphone with a camera which was used in taking a footage of any event, whether news worthy or not?
This kind of a conduct is undeniably a brazen curtailment of press freedom, pure and simple, even if a media personality is perceived to be obnoxious or offensive at times. It is an abominable press censorship, considering that it prevents a newsman from discharging his or her duties, or from doing his work of gathering news.

PRESS GROUPS MUST PROBE AIRPORT INCIDENT: I therefore urge the press organizations in the Philippines, more particularly the National Press Club, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, to look into this event, and find out what can be done to protect newsmen and broadcasters alike against attempts to stop them from doing their job.
To me, this airport scandal only highlighted all the more the increasing disregard in our country of the Constitutional guarantee of press freedom, especially when viewed from the recent barrage of reports about policemen and members of other law enforcement agencies---and even ordinary citizens---taking cameras and other instruments like tape recorders of newsmen covering a story, even forcibly and against their will in many occasions.
The country’s press groups must act now, whether they sympathize with Tulfo or not or whether they think it was Tulfo who was at fault or not, because their inaction on cases like this---which inaction had been happening for quite some time now---has already emboldened and encouraged more hostile acts against media.

TULFO BROTHERS’ REACTION: Over and above all of the foregoing, however, there is, to me, a more interesting sidelight to this story. Tulfo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Radyo Inquirer fame is the eldest among the Tulfo brothers who are all in media now, the others being Erwin, Raffy and Ben, all of TV 5.

I wonder what Tulfo’s siblings will be doing in the coming days, considering their famous closeness and well-known respect for Tulfo, who pioneered in police column writing, then radio broadcasting and TV hosting, at a time when his kid brothers were still all wet behind the ears.
Will Erwin, Raffy and Ben take things in stride and let the wheels of justice run its course especially now that their Kuya Mon has already filed his case with the police authorities against Raymart and Claudine? Or will they do something else, especially since, from the Facebook videos of the incident, their oldest brother was mercilessly outnumbered and outfought by Raymart and Claudine and several other people? Let’s wait and see.

by Atty. Batas Mauricio




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