Clash of titans
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag () - May 9, 2012 - 12:00am

As far as litigation goes, the absence of any CCTV footage to show how the NAIA fracas started between columnist Mon Tulfo and celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barreto will reduce the case into that of being the word of one taken against the other.

What documentary evidence there is is that of a video showing the fracas itself, with Tulfo getting helplessly beaten by the couple and one of their friends, with airport security guards appearing to have great difficulty either breaking up the fight or protecting Tulfo.

Despite our tendency to sympathize with Tulfo, owing to the fact that the only video we see is that of him getting clobbered, still it is essential for us to know what really happened and how the fight started.

But knowing exactly that will take some time, given the notoriously slow pace that court cases in this country can proceed. What will likely happen is that people will jump the gun on the courts and form their own conclusions, based on what they saw, and what their biases dictate.

Whatever conclusions people may form, however, it is clear to me that Santiago and Barreto will likely suffer more from the fallout than will Tulfo. I don’t know if their careers will suffer much as to actually hurt their pockets, but they will suffer one way or the other.

In fact, in the “final word” of “The World Tonight” on ANC last Monday, host Tina Monzon Palma had this quote: “The test of a man’s or woman’s breeding is in how he or she behaves in a quarrel.”

That, to me, was a clear indictment of Santiago and Barreto, but more especially Barreto, since she is of the sweet image type in her movies that one sort of automatically associates with good breeding.

But all that assumed good breeding and sweet image have all flown out the window on account of what the available video has shown. Never mind Santiago and his male friend because they are, well, men. But Barreto certainly was far from sweet or well-bred in the footage.

Come to think of it, from what one sees in the available video, it probably does not matter anymore how the fracas started or who started it. The beating Tulfo got was simply too much for what he may have done.

Let us recount the story once more, based on what appears to be the uncontested details of it: Santiago and Barreto have just flown in from Boracay with friends. Tulfo himself just flew in from Davao.

At the NAIA terminal, Santiago and Barreto discovered some of their things have been offloaded by the carrier without their knowledge prior to the flight for safety considerations. The couple naturally got distressed.

Those were the uncontested details. From hereon, the accounts diverge. According to Santiago and Barreto, they demanded an explanation from the airline ground crew. Tulfo said the couple berated the ground crew in public and threatened to have them fired.

It must be recalled at this point that Tulfo is a journalist being confronted with an incident that had the elements of a very good story — angry celebrities caught in a public scene over an issue that is a matter of public interest.

Tulfo said he naturally took out his phone and started taking photos. Santiago and Barreto claimed Tulfo intervened and, when confronted, reportedly got physical. Without any CCTV footages that could have shown what really happened, we will never know the truth at this point.

 But look at it this way. There is some likelihood Tulfo may have intervened as far as the berating of the airline ground crew is concerned. But I see no reason in hell why he should get physical or whatever. He could have put in a few words, but that’s about it.

On the other hand, I see an already very angry celebrity couple noticing someone taking pictures. I cannot, for what little intelligence I have, see Tulfo launching an attack at this point. But I have a fairly good idea who would.

BARRETO BORACAY BUT BARRETO BUT I MON TULFO RAYMART SANTIAGO AND CLAUDINE BARRETO SANTIAGO SANTIAGO AND BARRETO TINA MONZON PALMA TULFO WORLD TONIGHT
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