An online poll on InterAksyon.com shows an overwhelming majority of readers sympathizing with broadcast and print commentator Ramon ‘Mon’ Tulfo, and blaming celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto, in their infamous brawl at the airport last week.
With nearly 5,000 people taking part in the online survey, 65 percent said they believe Santiago and Barretto were ultimately responsible for what happened. Only 17 percent blamed Tulfo. Eighteen percent said airport security was to blame.
Tulfo is a talent of TV5, and is the older brother of the three hosts of its public affairs program, “T3″. InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.
Outside of the InterAksyon.com survey, a text poll conducted Sunday by the ABS-CBN talk show “The Buzz” revealed at the end of separate lengthy interviews with both Tulfo and Santiago that an overwhelming majority of viewers favored the veteran journalist over the showbiz couple.
The poll results said 81.36 percent of the undisclosed number of texters believed Tulfo’s version of the so-called “Thrilla at NAIA”, the May 6 melee where he was mugged by the group led by the actor and his wife, actress Claudine Barretto.
Only 18.64 percent voted for the Santiagos.
One week after the incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Tulfo and Santiago remained at loggerheads over who really started the brawl, which was caught on camera by an eyewitness who quickly posted the video on youTube.
The incident was an offshoot of Barretto issuing a verbal complaint to the Cebu Pacific ground crew for offloading her party’s luggage.
“Siya (Tulfo) po ang nauna. Never ko inextend ang kamay ko,” Santiago insisted to “The Buzz” host Boy Abunda in his recollection of his initial encounter with Tulfo, who had photographed Barretto’s outburst with his cellphone camera.
Santiago stuck to his claim that he and his party only attacked Tulfo after the latter kicked his wife. Again, Tulfo denied the charge.
“Wala akong dahilan para i-provoke sila,” he said. “Hindi ko sila kilala. Hindi ko sila kalaban.”
Santiago appealed to other witnesses who might have also videotaped the incident to produce the video. The CCTV cameras at the terminal were not working.
Santiago claimed that the video that had gone viral only caught the second half of the incident, when the Santiago couple and their companions ganged up on Tulfo.
A candid Tulfo confessed that he thought about getting his gun to defend himself against the Santiagos’ group.
“Ang instinct ko was to run towards my gun,” he said.
Tulfo, who has a license to carry a firearm, was thankful that he had not yet retrieved his gun from the security counter at NAIA 3 when the fracas happened.
He said his martial arts expertise was rendered useless because he was totally outnumbered.
“I stood my ground kaso napakarami nila,” he said. “What is important is I fought for my right and the rights of others.”
Santiago issued this parting shot: “Basta nasa tama ka naman, kakampi mo ang Diyos.”
The poll results, which showed that public sympathy was not on his side, were flashed immediately afterwards.