ACTING on instructions from the Palace, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año has ordered the immediate recall of all police security personnel given to tough-talking radio host Erwin Tulfo and his brothers following the Tulfo’s uncalled for on-air outburst against Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista.
Highly-reliable Journal Group sources said that Tulfo has eight security personnel assigned to him and his family, although it is not immediately clear if all of them are with the Police Security and Protection Group.
His brothers Ramon, currently an envoy in China, and fellow radio broadcasters Raffy and Ben also have their own protective details.
Sources said that President Duterte gave the order after hearing the tirades of Erwin against Sec. Bautista who chose to keep silent. It turned out that the DSWD chief was meeting the Japanese ambassador when he was berated by Tulfo on-air for not immediately granting him an interview for his radio show “Tutok Tulfo” on Radyo Pilipinas.
Tulfo had asked President Duterte to fire Bautista during his outburst but instead earned the ire of many including the former Davao City mayor who resented how he treated one of his Cabinet officials. The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association also defended Bautista, a true-blue Army Scout Ranger and demanded that Tulfo make a sincere apology in public.
It was not immediately known if he was authorized by the Commission on Elections to have an armed bodyguard during the election period which started last January 13 and ends this coming June 12.
During the election period, Comelec banned the carrying of firearms on the street and the employment of security personnel by any individual unless they have secured the official Comelec exemption.
Philippine National Police spokesman Colonel Bernard M. Banac said that the Tulfo brothers’ police bodyguards were “recalled for review.”
As a rule, any person who is validated by the PNP Directorate for Intelligence to be a “high-risk person” can request security. However, his claim that his life is in danger must be fully validated by the Police Regional Office which has jurisdiction over his place of residence and counter-checked by the PNP-DI.
The final approval of the threat assessment report must come from the PNP chief.
As part of the DILG chief’s directive, all PSPG personnel assigned to the Tiulfo brothers will be required to report to Camp Crame for accounting. “Their permanent recall will depend on the outcome of the review process,” said Banac.
Banac said that based on standard protocols, the two PNP security personnel assigned to Erwin Tulfo will undergo the regular inspection, interview and debriefing this week following an assigned schedule among all PSPG personnel on security detail.
“The continuation of security detail will largely depend on the outcome of this regular review process and the revalidation of the level of threats against the protectees. This standard protocal applies to all authorized protectees and not only to Erwin Tulfo,” added Banac.
A member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985, Bautista is a seasoned Army official who retired in October of last year. President Duterte appointed him to lead the DSWD shortly after he retired.
After receiving his share of criticisms, Tulfo admitted that his tirade against Bautista went too far but he asserted his right as a journalist to criticize officials.
In his tirade against Bautista, Tulfo said: “Sampalin kita ‘pag nakita kitang buang ka. Wala akong pakialam kung retired general ka. Ingudngud ko ‘yung mukha mo sa inidoro.Kung ako nahihirapan magka-access sayo, how much more ang mga mahihirap?” he said.