Broadcaster Ramon “Mon” Tulfo was arrested by the police today, May 18, over a libel complaint.
Tulfo told The Philippine STAR that he was at the Manila City Hall when the police served his warrant of arrest.
The broadcaster said he was attending a hearing for libel charge filed against him by former justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 when he was arrested for another libel case before Branch 24.
Tulfo, who is the brother of presumptive senator Raffy Tulfo, said both libel cases involved his “series of articles” implicating Aguirre in the so-called “pastillas scam,” an alleged bribery scheme where Chinese nationals were reportedly allowed entry at airports in exchange for money.
He is not doing it only for me, but for all the reporters.
In 2018, Aguirre charged Tulfo, the editorial board of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and its online arm, as well as the tabloid Bandera over articles that the columnist wrote in the said publications.
The @PhilippineStar columnist, radio commentator Ramon Tulfo was served an arrest warrant by the Manila Police District for a cyber libel case. He is the brother of Raffy Tulfo, who made it in the Senate top 12. The younger Tulfo vowed to decriminalize libel as senator— Marc Jayson Cayabyab (@mjaysoncayabyab) May 18, 2022
Tulfo told The STAR the latest warrant issued by Manila RTC Branch 24 involved his nonappearance in a libel hearing because he was in China as presidential special envoy at the time.
Tulfo, who writes a column for The STAR, said he is supporting his elder brother’s proposal to decriminalize libel.
"Libel should only be a civil action... If I were in his (Raffy Tulfo's) place, I would do the same thing. My first order of business is to file a bill that would decriminalize libel," Mon Tulfo said.
A number of bills have been filed before in Congress to decriminalize libel in the country, which as media advocates have argued is often used to cow press practitioners due to its stiff fine and imprisonment.
“He is not doing it only for me, but for all the reporters and the media (practitioners),” Tulfo said.