[PHOTO - A swollen right eye was all the evidence that INQUIRER columnist and radio host Ramon Tulfo brought to the prosecutor’s office on Monday.]

MANILA, MAY 8, 2012 (INQUIRER) By: Miko Morelos - Tulfo filed grave coercion and physical injury charges against show biz couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Baretto and six others who ganged up on him at the airport on Sunday in what netizens billed the “Thrilla in Naia.”

Wearing the same vest he had during the attack, Tulfo said he decided to press charges against the Santiagos because of the beating he received from the group.

Despite being outnumbered, “I did not back down,” said Tulfo.

“I would have charged this to experience,” he told the INQUIRER after filing the complaint at the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office. “But the cussing I received from her [Claudine] changed my mind. Besides, this should serve a lesson to them to respect lowly people (“maliliit na tao’’).

“Inalipusta niya yung pobreng empleyado (She ridiculed the poor employee),” he said.

He showed to reporters his swollen right eye, which he said had been operated on last year. He also said that he was still feeling pain in his nape.

His lawyer Mario General said the degree of the charge against those who assaulted his client could be amended in the coming days when the results of the medical exam on Tulfo shall have been released.

Tulfo, a martial arts expert, said he never figured in brawls such as the one he got in the other day because of his knowledge in self-defense.

But it appeared that facing several aggressors at the same time rendered his training of little use.

In hindsight, the columnist said he shouldn’t have let his guard down when airport authorities came.

“I relaxed when the airport security and the police came thinking they would restore order,” he said. “But I was wrong. They did not know what they were doing there.”

Tulfo had just arrived from Davao on Sunday morning when he heard a woman berating a Cebu Pacific ground staff for “her mishandled luggage.”

He said he initially sympathized with the woman because he had been writing about the issue in past columns.

[PHOTO - IS A YouTube videograb shows Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo being held in a headlock during a scuffle at the NAIA Terminal 3 after he took photos of actress Claudine Barretto: A brawl erupted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 over cell phone photos of an actress berating a ground stewardess of a budget airline. Actor Raymart Santiago and at least six other men ganged up on Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist and radio host Ramon Tulfo on Sunday for taking photos of the former’s wife, actress Claudine Barretto, according to Tulfo’s account.]

He went near the airline’s complaints desk and pulled out his mobile phone to document the incident, the photos he hoped to use as part of a future column. But as he was taking photos, a man approached him and instructed him to surrender the phone.

Tulfo refused and he was mauled by the man, whom he later learned to be Raymart Santiago, and several others who reportedly were the actor’s companions.

A clip of the brawl has been uploaded to the video-sharing website YouTube and passed around the social networking site Facebook.

It showed Tulfo, wearing a khaki vest, being grabbed in a headlock by a man in a grey shirt while another man in a pink shirt threw overhand rights at the columnist.

Barretto was heard screaming and joining the melee, and looked like she kicked and slapped Tulfo as he was being held down.

One account hosting the video at Youtube garnered over 800,000 hits. With reports from Ruel Perez, Radyo Inquirer 990AM

For more of the report, listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

FROM abs-cbn

Claudine claims Mon Tulfo started fight Posted at 05/06/2012 3:48 PM | Updated as of 05/07/2012 8:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Actress Claudine Barretto denied that it was her husband Raymart Santiago who started the brawl at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on Sunday.

This comes after journalist Mon Tulfo claimed that Santiago tried to forcefully grab his cellphone after the actor caught him taking a photo of Barretto when she was allegedly cursing a flight attendant.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Barretto said it is not true that she was cursing the airport staff.

She said she was merely complaining because their bags were left in Caticlan Airport and she needed the medicines of her son.

“Pagbaba ho namin ng airport, naghintay po kami ng matagal sa carousel ng luggage. Walang dumating na luggage namin so lumapit kami sa ground stewardess tapos nalaman namin na naiwan pala 'yung luggage at ipapadala na lang daw,” she explained.

Barretto said one of their friends then alerted Santiago that Tulfo was taking a video of her.

“Sabi nung friend namin kay Raymart, para nang may nagvi-video. Lumapit si Raymart. Ang pagsabi raw ni Raymart ‘Sir, ano hong ginagawa ninyo?’ Sabi raw sa kanya ‘Anong pakialam mo?’ Tapos sinuntok siya ni Mon Tulfo,” the actress related.

Barretto said their two other friends tried to stop the fight but Tulfo also attacked them.

“Noong lumapit 'yung dalawang friends namin na lalaki, bigla na lang niyang pinagsususuntok at pinagsisisipa,” she said.

According to Barretto, Tulfo also kicked her twice when she confronted him about why he punched her husband.

“Lumapit ako sabi ko ‘Anong problema mo? Bakit ka nanununtok?’ Tapos bigla na lang humarap siya sa akin, tinadyakan niya ako ng dalawang beses sa hita tapos tinulak ako sa may counter ng sobrang lakas,” she said.

Claudine appeals to release CCTV

Barretto is now appealing to airport authorities to release their CCTV because only the footage can say who really started the brawl.

“Mga Kristiyano po kami at hindi kami sinungaling. Kung puwede po tulungan kami ng media na kulitin ang airport na tulungan kaming hingin ang CCTV ng airport,” she said.

“Ayaw po nila i-release. According to them, hindi raw nakunan or chine-check pa. Hindi ko alam sino ang nagho-hold. Iyon lang po ang makapagsasabi kung sino ang nagsimula,” she added.

File charges

Meanwhile, Barretto said she and Santiago are considering filing charges against Tulfo.

“Kausap namin ang lawyers namin kasi hindi ho biro iyon. Kung ako na babae kaya niyang tadyakan at itulak ng ganyan ganyan, hindi ho maganda ang ginagawa niya. Nag-aamok siya ng ganun lang? Tinatanong lang siya ng maayos tapos magwawala siya ng ganun?” she said.

Barretto said Tulfo even threatened them while at the precinct.

“Pagpasok ko nag-hello pa ho siya, nang-aalaska pa. Tawa siya ng tawa hindi ko alam kung bakit. Ngumingiti-ngiti siya eh. Tapos nagbitaw ho siya ng salita na hindi niyo alam kung sino ang kinakalaban niyo. Iyon ang sinabi niya sa amin. Thrineaten niya ho kami,” she said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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