The online news portal of TV5
The national police on Monday demanded that airport security officials explain the circumstances behind and surrounding the Sunday morning brawl involving media commentator Mon Tulfo and husband-wife actors Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto - an incident that the National Press Club is now casting as an attack on press freedom.
As video of the airport melee continues to go viral, the National Press Club said it was standing squarely behind Tulfo, a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and recently one of the signed talents of broadcasting network TV5. (InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.)
Santiago and Barretto say the fight was triggered when Tulfo started taking pictures of Barretto while she was reportedly berating ground crew of Cebu Pacific. The airline had for some reason offloaded Barretto's luggage from Boracay, and the actress was upset over the matter.
Tulfo claims he was merely trying to pacify Barretto, even as he acknowledged taking pictures with his cellphone. He suggested that he wanted to document the matter as Barretto was supposedly becoming abusive towards the ground crew.
Santiago then supposedly tried to confiscate his cellphone, push came to shove, and before he knew what was happening, Tulfo was being held back by half a dozen men, with Santiago free to land some blows.
In the end, Tulfo bore bruises on his face. Barretto had bruises on her legs.
Santiago, for his part, claims that Tulfo had kicked Barretto, and he was therefore only defending his wife.
Benny Antiporda, president of the National Press Club, said that based on what they have seen and understand, Tulfo was well within his rights to document Barretto's behavior in a public place such as Terminal 3 of the international airport. He added that Tulfo was clearly ganged upon and beaten, and was prevented from acting on his instincts as a journalist.
No arrests have been made, but airport officials have launched an investigation. The national police, in turn, wants airport security officials to explain what exactly took place on Sunday at the airport.