The chief of the government’s Philippine Information Agency today blasted broadcaster Erwin Tulfo for cursing and threatening to physically assault a top welfare official on air.
In a post that appeared on his Facebook account, Harold Clavite called out Erwin for lambasting Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista because he had told the broadcaster to request an interview in writing for his radio show, Tutok Tulfo.
Erwin is from the controversial Tulfo family, which is known for tough-talking personas and vocal support of President Rodrigo Duterte. His brothers Ramon Tulfo, Raffy Tulfo, and Ben Tulfo are also broadcasters, while his sister Wanda Teo was a former secretary of the Tourism Department.
The Tulfos became embroiled in a controversy last year when Teo, who was then tourism’s secretary, was accused of paying PHP60 million (US$1.146 million) to Kilos Pronto, a show which Erwin co-hosted with Ben, who is also the producer.
Teo denied that there was a conflict of interest in her decision to pay Ben the big sum, but she ended up resigning from her post in May 2018. Ben remains adamant that he won’t return the money to the government.
Today, Clavite wrote that he worked with Bautista, a retired general, during the Battle of Marawi in 2017. Clavite described Bautista as an excellent government leader.
Referring to Erwin’s attack of Bautista on air, Clavite said:
“To be berated in public by a pretentious and poisonous media personality whose only leverage is his last name and airtime in government radio is [a] complete nullity. Gen. Bautista is a blazing star, way incomparable from this superstar wannabe.”
Clavite also said that it was “unpleasant and excruciating” that Erwin is being considered to be Duterte’s next press secretary.
“This kind of journalism is totally unheard of and I always wonder how some people in the industry get away with such misconduct and transgression,” Clavite added.
Erwin attacked Bautista of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, or DSWD, on his radio show this week after the latter wouldn’t grant him a phone interview.
In his on-air tirade, Erwin said in a mix of English and Filipino: “This Secretary Rolando Bautista, who is this crazy man? Even if you are an official working for President Duterte, I will scold you. Secretary Bautista of DSWD, listen up and listen good. We were calling you so that our poor countrymen could hear you [on the radio]. But you can’t tell us ‘Write five days before [the interview].'”
“Five days before [the interview]? Who the f*ck are you that I still have to write a letter to you? Answer your phone because you are [the secretary of] DSWD. Our countrymen want to know what you can do for them. You’re crazy!” Erwin said.
He even threatened to assault Bautista. “I’ll slap you if I see you, you crazy man. I don’t care if you are a retired general. I’ll drown your face in a toilet,” he said.
After his attack, a petition appeared online urging Erwin to apologize to Bautista. It has received almost 3,000 signatures as of writing.
He has already apologized in his radio show this morning but said he does not want to take back what he said.
Erwin is one of the Philippines’ most-recognized broadcasters. Many have credited him for the overwhelming victory of the group Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS), which received the most number of votes during this month’s midterm elections. He actively campaigned for ACT-CIS, whose nominee is Jocelyn Tulfo, the wife of his brother Raffy.