Police order broadcaster Erwin Tulfo to surrender firearms

Erwin Tulfo campaigning for ACT-CIS party-list group. Photo: Tulfo’s Facebook page.
Erwin Tulfo campaigning for ACT-CIS party-list group. Photo: Tulfo’s Facebook page.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered broadcaster Erwin Tulfo to surrender his firearms to the police, days after it recalled escorts previously assigned to protect him and his family.

PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard Banac announced this in a media briefing today and said that they sent the order to Erwin yesterday. However, Banac is not aware of how many firearms Tulfo has in his possession and did not specify what these firearms were.

Banac said that Erwin’s license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) expired in May, which is why he must surrender them. The PNP spokesman said that it’s necessary for a person to secure an LTOPF before he could own guns, even if his firearms are already licensed. Once the LTOPF is expired, the owner has to surrender his guns to the PNP for temporary safekeeping. The PNP will give it back once the LTOPF has been renewed.

He clarified that the order only covers Erwin, and not his brothers Raffy Tulfo, Ramon Tulfo, and Ben Tulfo, all of whom are also broadcasters.

“Erwin Tulfo is the only one covered by this. The licenses of the [other] Tulfo brothers are still valid,” Banac said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“If they (Erwin) will apply for a renewal, they would go through the same process, the same procedure. They will have to undergo [a] drug test, a neuropsychological test, including [an] interview,” Banac said.

Erwin can only apply for renewal after the election gun ban, which will end on June 12. Should Erwin refuse to give up his guns, the PNP can issue a search warrant so they could take them from him.

The order to recall Tulfo’s firearms comes four days after the PNP recalled the police bodyguards assigned to Erwin, his brothers Ben and Raffy, and Raffy’s wife Congresswoman Jocelyn Tulfo.

PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday that the PNP did this because they needed to review if there was really a need to provide police escorts to the family. However, Albayalde also said their decision to recall the escorts was influenced by an incident where Erwin lambasted retired general and DWSD Secretary Bautista on his radio show.

Erwin threatened to slap and drown Bautista in a toilet last week after the latter refused to give him a phone interview for his radio show, Tutok Tulfo. After his comments caused online outrage, Erwin apologized to Bautista but said he had no intention to take back what he said.

However, on the day that the PNP said that they would recall the Tulfo family’s police escorts, Erwin apologized again to Bautista and promised that he and his brothers would tone down their tough-talking style of broadcasting, CNN Philippines reported.

Erwin also apologized to the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, which threatened to sue him for libel for what he said against Bautista.

Today, Bautista said he would accept Erwin’s apology, under some conditions. In a statement given to the media, Bautista said Erwin has to publish his apology in the following media and social media platforms:

  • Leading newspapers, with a minimum half-page size
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube
  • Radio stations DZBB, DZMM, Radio Singko News FM 92.3, DZRH, and DZRB

He also ordered Erwin to donate PHP300,000 (US$5,777) each to 19 organizations of Bautista’s choice, reported Rappler.  

Erwin has yet to respond to Bautista’s demands as of writing.

The Tulfo brothers are known for their macho on-air personas and vocal support of President Rodrigo Duterte. They became embroiled in a controversy last year when their sister Wanda Teo, who was then tourism’s secretary, was accused of paying PHP60 million (US$1.146 million) to Kilos Pronto, a television 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.

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