Yes, this is the Front Page of the Inquirer Today


Yesterday was no ordinary Sunday. It was a great day for sports fans. There was the much-anticipated fight between Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (with a dash of 50 Cent and Justin Bieber) and the do-or-die PBA Championship match between Tim Cone’s B-Meg and Chot Reyes’ Talk N’ Text. It was also a great day for geeks and astronomy enthusiasts with the ‘super moon’, where the moon is at its closest approach to the earth.

Just when most of us thought it would be a fun and action-filled Sunday, it turned out to be action-filled in a violent way. A brawl erupted at NAIA Terminal 3 when Raymart Santiago with six other men ganged up on Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist and one quarter of the balls-incarnated Tulfo Brothers, Ramon, for taking photos of the former’s wife, Claudine Barreto. According to Ramon, he noticed a woman giving a stewardess a dressing down over an off-loaded luggage. He also said that he did not recognized the woman, whom he described as matronly-looking with a pretty face, as actress Claudine Barreto.

Minutes after the incident, as expected, the internet through various forms of social media erupts with taunts and jeers. In a country where these fights are considered ‘entertainment’, especially if it involves known personalities, it is but expected to be the instant talk of the town. And to spice things up, the footage of the actual brawl spread on the internet and is considered far better than the defunct MTV show, Celebrity Deathmatch.

The fiasco is far from over as both parties are threatening to sue each other in court. And I expect this to be the content of tabloids and showbiz-oriented shows for weeks to come.

But I did not expect what I saw this morning.

In today’s issue my favorite broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, the banner story came to me as a shocker. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they put yesterday’s airport brouhaha in the front page as the main headline. At first, I was disgusted and I felt a little disrespect for the broadsheet but things eventually came down on me. 1. Ramon Tulfo is one of theirs. He is a columnist and and announcer for Radyo Inquirer. 2. Maybe because it was a slow news day yesterday? Over the past days, the headlines are all about the recently-concluded ADB Governor’s meeting (which, I believe, millions of Filipinos, including me, don’t know what that is all about). And the event was the biggest news yesterday? 3. Or is just an ice breaker for the bloody return of the impeachment trial. Or not. Whatever.

I have no idea why the editors chose this as their banner story, which, in my opinion, appears to be tabloid-ish. Well, in the country where there are no clear boundaries politics, showbiz, and whatnots, what would you expect?

And to add insult to the injury, here at Juan Republic, let us dig further into the issue. Screw the impeachment trial! This is more exciting. The following items are satirical and should be taken with a grain of salt:

  • Moonsanity. Let us blame the moon’s gravitational pull. Maybe, in yesterday’s super moon, the moon approached the earth too close and its gravity sucked the fluids and loosen a few sanity screws and temper bolts of these individuals. Yes, the moon is that powerful.
  • Camera Obscura. According to NAIA General Manager Angel Honrado,there were no CCTVs at the carousel area of the NAIA Terminal 3. Congratulations and good luck to your luggage. Now the criminal minds know where the airport’s vulnerability is. Wait, how much again is the terminal fee at our world-class airport? Is it worth the price?
  • Airport Security. Have you seen the video of the brawl? If you were keen enough to observe, you will see helpless airport security guards who were no match to break off the power of action star Raymart Santiago and former mermaid Claudine Barreto. Wow. It seems like security can be a factor to put NAIA at the list of the world’s worst airport again. Again, congratulations.
  • Matrona+Hulk=Clash of the Titans. According to Mon Tulfo’s version of the story, he did not immediately recognized the woman as Claudine Barreto. He described her to members of the Press in an interview as “tumaba at mukhang matrona”. What a deadly combo! I expect a monster worse than the Hulk in the days to come. (Speaking of which, I wonder if Hulk’s character is a woman, how worse could she get with all the stress and PMS. Damn. I cannot fathom. But that’s another story.)
  • Mythbusters. It has been a long-time tsismis that Claudine and Raymart’s marriage is on the rocks and the two are already separated. Well, here it is, the proof of their happy and action-filled bond as husband and wife. I’m sorry showbiz writers, the myth has been busted this time.
  • In Character. Aside from being an action star, I remember Raymart most with the TV shows Kool Ka Lang, Bantatay, and Futbolilit. Apparently, Raymart lost his Kool Ka Lang attitude when he saw his wife being being aggravated, that’s why he showed his Bantatay instinct and futbolilit-edMon Tulfo’s helpless face. Boom! And as for Claudine, I only remember her as Via from Mula sa Puso and as the mermaid Marina. Other than that, nada. Wait, what’s her latest known character anyway?
  • Band of Brothers. Most of us know that the Tulfo Brothers (Mon, Ben, Raffy, and Erwin) are known for being maangas, walang inuurungan, and being authoritative. In other words, bayag-incarnated. Now, it seems that one of them, the eldest, has met his match with the Mr. and Mrs. Santiago. what would be the next episode of this fiasco? Earlier this morning, Erwin Tulfo in his radio program, invited Raymart Santiago et al for a coffee. Yes, coffee. I just hope that there are no biscuits, sandwiches, candies, korniks, and a bangka ng sakla with this invitation. If you know what I mean.

After making sawsaw and dissecting some parts of this issue, let us look at the bigger picture: airline services, privacy, and respect.

The problem started with an off-loaded (missing) luggage of the Barreto’s by carrier Cebu Pacific. Barreto, in her anger, scolded and threw hurtful words to the helpless stewardess. Tulfo, being a journalist, seeing the helpless attendant, tried to document the whole incident.

The problem of Cebu Pacific’s handling of the passenger’s luggage has been repeatedly criticized by Mon Tulfo (in his column) and other passengers. Maybe, this incident will be an eye-opener and a lesson for the company to fix the mess of their services. Maybe, the Santiagos and Tulfo are the shameful sacrificial lambs (pardon me for those words) to fix the service of this carrier.

The second thing is respect. Just because you are well-known and may kaya, do you really have to put this helpless flight attendants into shame by throwing harsh words to them? Yes, it is a fact that there are lapses with their services but that doesn’t mean you have the right to treat these persons as shits. The customer is not always right.

And the last thing is privacy. In today’s age of digital cameras, smart phones, and internet, it seems that the notion of privacy is nothing but an abstract concept. Take this as an example: As long as you have a camera and a decent internet connection, you can easily shoot a video of a person (even without their consent) and upload it online. Let’s say that it is for the purpose of news and evidence but what are the parameters? What are the things that you can or cannot share online? Do we have the liberty, for the sake of freedom of information, to share these stuff online? This is still a subject to debate and legislation. Mahaba-habang inuman pa ‘to.

Some people would say that this is just nothing but a cheap fight between two prominent personalities. Some would enjoy this just as much as they enjoy watching Tiyang Amy’s Face to Face. But there is bigger picture here.

It just sucks to realize that while all the attention of the public is focused on this incident, some important issues are neglected – poverty, corruption, land reform, freedom of information, and impunity.

Welcome to the Philippines!