Tulfo brothers, police escorts and criteria to get PNP protection

June 5, 2019 - 11:26 AM
Tulfo brothers
From left to right: Ramon, Ben, Raffy and Erwin Tulfo. (The STAR/File photo)

Questions on the Philippine National Police previously granting escorts to the Tulfo brothers arose when Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde mentioned that a “good moral character” is considered a criterion.

At a press briefing on May 3, Monday, the country’s top cop mentioned that police escorts of Erwin, Ben and Raffy Tulfo were recalled when one of the brothers spewed harsh comments against Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista.

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“Good moral character is a [criterion] like [when one applies for] possession of firearms,” Albayalde said.

Although Erwin Tulfo’s comments were not the main reason for the recall, they were a “factor” as to why it happened.

“What if you provide security to a person who will bully, not only members of the AFP or PNP or a secretary for that matter, and yet he is being protected by police personnel?” Albayalde added.

“What would the people say or feel [if] he is being protected by no less than the PNP?” he continued.

“That would look bad in the public’s eyes if bullies, not necessarily Mr. Tulfo, boast of having policemen as security. I think that’s not good,” the top cop explained.

Police Brigadier General Filmore Escobal added that the recall was also part of their periodic evaluation where the assignment of police security details is reviewed on a monthly basis.

The criterion for having police escorts was questioned by Filipinos who recalled how people involved in a  controversy would obtain such privileges.

Ben Tulfo and sister Wanda Tulfo-Teo, a former tourism secretary, were accused of securing a P60-million deal between People’s Television Network Inc. and Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. which involved the controversial airing of the tourism department’s advertisements.

There were eight police escorts from the PNP Police Security and Protection Group who were previously assigned to Erwin, Ben, Raffy and Raffy’s wife Jocelyn.

The Tulfo brothers are known for their service-oriented broadcast programs and hard-hitting commentaries.

The PNP’s security group assigns a maximum of two police escorts to individuals who need to be secured following supposed threats on their life.

A security assessment is conducted by the group where certain circumstances are examined, as well as the individual’s credibility and good moral character.

Defining a ‘good moral character’

A legal definition of “good moral character” is exhibiting “honesty, fairness and respect for the rights of others and for the state and federal law.”

The United States defines it as an individual who has not committed criminal acts or actions that involve “moral turpitude,” which refers to a “conduct that shocks the public conscience.”

These offensive acts include murder, voluntary slaughter, kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assaults, among others.

Accordingly, the individual must also “maintain and has maintained the expectations of a law-abiding member of society” to be considered a person of good moral character.

“These standards must be consistent to the same moral standards of the citizens residing in their community,” an international law firm noted.