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Tulfo-Santiago beyond the 59-second video

What happened before the brawl between Ramon “Mon” Tulfo Jr, and couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto?

TULFO-SANTIAGO. Different camps give conflicting accounts on the May 6 brawl at NAIA-3.

MANILA, Philippines – While it is only 59 seconds long, a viral video is shaping public opinion on the brawl between broadcaster Ramon “Mon” Tulfo Jr, and celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto.

What could have happened beyond this video?

An eyewitness with the pseudonym “Anna,” who has appeared on primetime newscasts to recount the incident, told Rappler about the events 5 minutes before the video started.

Based on conflicting accounts by the parties involved, Rappler pieced together the events that transpired past noon Sunday, May 6, near the baggage counter of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

1. Barretto complains to Cebu Pacific staff about her family’s missing baggage

TULFO noticed a commotion at the NAIA-3 baggage area. He said a woman was then complaining to a female Cebu Pacific attendant due to missing baggage from a Boracay-Manila flight. “Nagsimpatya ako sa kanya dahil ‘yung Cebu Pacific kasi, hindi maganda ang handling ng pasahero at mga kargamyento,” Tulfo tells GMA News’ 24 Oras. (I sympathized with her because Cebu Pacific doesn’t handle baggage well.)

SANTIAGO said his wife Claudine was mad at Cebu Pacific staff for offloading around 6 to 10 of his group’s luggage without proper notice. He  explained that the missing baggage includes medicines for one of his children’s asthma attacks. “Sabihin na nating nagtaas ng boses. Siguro mother’s instinct,” Santiago narrated in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol.

EYEWITNESS ‘ANNA’ narrated that Barretto complained to female Cebu Pacific attendant “in a loud voice…for over two minutes.”

EYEWITNESS ‘DONNA’ said Barretto berated a female Cebu Pacific attendant “at the top of her voice.” “She’s well known for that.”

2. Tulfo takes images of Barretto’s actions

TULFO took pictures of the “woman,” whom he later identified as Barretto, due to her supposedly scandalous behavior.

Isusulat ko sana kasi, ‘yung babae nagsisisigaw, minumura niya ‘yung counter girl at sinasabi niyang ipatatanggal niya sa trabaho, at inutusan niyang tumawag sa mga Gokongwei dahil kakausapin daw niya,” Tulfo says. (I was supposed to write about it because the woman was yelling at the counter girl and threatening her that she can be fired from her job. She even asked the girl to call the Gokongwei’s to talk to them.)

SANTIAGO explained that Barretto apprehended the Cebu Pacific attendant because the situation left her upset. “Kung kinausap po ako ni Mon, siguro kumampi siya sa akin eh. Kaso pinagkukunan po kami,” he said in a separate interview on 24 Oras. (If Mon talked to us, he would have understood us. But he chose to take pictures.)

EYEWITNESS ‘ANNA’ said a man who looks like an Asian tourist got “quite close” to Barretto, acting like a voyeur (“namboboso”). “It looked to me like he was texting but actually he was taking photographs,” Anna tells Rappler.

EYEWITNESS ‘DONNA’ noted that Tulfo “invaded” Barretto’s personal space, and tried to take video of her complaining about her group’s missing bags.

3. Santiago approaches Tulfo

TULFO said a man in gray, who turned out to be Santiago, approached him and tried to get his cellphone. He quickly slipped it into his pocket and pushed Santiago away, but the latter insisted on getting his cellphone so he can delete the images.

Wala akong dahilan para sumipa dahil, unang una, ‘di ko sila kilala. Pangalawa, hindi naman nila ako kalaban, at pangatlo, nagmamadali akong lumabas sa terminal building dahil ‘yung aking sasakyan ay nakaabang na sa akin sa labas… gutom na gutom na rin ako nu’n,” Tulfo told GMA News’ 24 Oras. (I had no reason to kick them because first, I didn’t know them. Second, they’re not my enemies. Third, I was in a hurry because my car was already waiting for me outside, and I was very hungry.)

SANTIAGO saw Tulfo taking photos and approached the broadcaster to ask what he is doing. Tulfo smirked, Santiago noted, and immediately punched and kicked him. He punched Tulfo, too, in self defense. For a while, the commotion stopped – but when Barreto saw what happened, she screamed at Tulfo. In response, Tulfo kicked her twice and pushed her away.

EYEWITNESS ‘ANNA’ narrated that Santiago approached Tulfo to ask why he was taking pictures of Barretto. “Wala naman ah, wala naman ah,” the broadcaster seemed to tell the actor. (It’s not here, it’s not here, is it?) The crowd, which saw where Tulfo placed the cellphone, chorused, “Nasa bulsa niya, nasa bulsa niya!” (It’s in his pocket, it’s in his pocket!)

Santiago reached for Tulfo’s cellphone. In a flash and in martial arts fashion, Tulfo hit Santiago’s arms and chest. Barretto was incensed and apprehended Tulfo. The broadcaster kicked her in return. Barretto lost her balance while airport security guards restrained Santiago. Eventually, Raymart broke loose to hit back on Tulfo.

“I was very upset at his hitting a woman,” Anna remarked. “I was saying, ‘The nerve of that man to hurt a woman!’”

EYEWITNESS ‘DONNA’ said Santiago asked Tulfo to stop taking images, but didn’t ask for Tulfo’s cellphone nor touched his hands. Tulfo, on the other hand, hid the cellphone and told Santiago it’s “none of his business” with a smirk on his face.

Then without provocation, Tulfo hit Santiago karate-style. Tulfo stopped for a while, then kicked Barretto who was then apprehending him. This was when Santiago got furious and engaged in a brawl with Tulfo.

One of Santiago’s companions tried to pacify the two. Tulfo, however, hit Santiago’s companion in the face. Another companion of Santiago entered the scene to mediate, but Tulfo punched him. Santiago then found an opportunity to seize Tulfo.

4. Santiago and his companions back at Tulfo

This is the 59-second video that has grabbed public attention.

The Tulfo-Santiago brawl remains the subject of investigation, with both camps trading cases against each other. Judges in the court of public opinion, meanwhile, may have already rendered their verdict. –

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