Apr 25
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Raffy Tulfo: The 'action agad' crime-fighter

Raffy Tulfo: The 'action agad' crime-fighter

Author: Ricardo F. Lo
Column: Funfare

A maid finally musters enough guts and runs away from her employer whom she accuses of maltreating her (that is, rendering her corporal punishment if she as much as tarries a second when the sadistic employer orders her to serve him a glass of cold water). She doesn't have any relative in the cruel city and she doesn't have money because her employer hasn't been giving her salary.

A tenant is being evicted from an apartment he has been renting for years by his greedy landlord who wants to lease the unit to somebody willing to pay double. He doesn't owe the landlord anything but the landlord, with the help of paid goons, has his family and appliances hauled out into the street.

A lowly jeepney driver is harassed by a kotong (corrupt) traffic cop who insists on confiscating his    license even if he clearly didn't violate any rule. As usual, all the cop needs is a little snack money, but why pounce on a poor man earning maybe not even two hundred bucks in “boundary” a day?

So where do the maltreated maid, the evicted tenant and the harassed jeepney driver run to for help? To the police? Are you kidding? Or to the court to file a complaint? Too much red tape. To the mountains to ask the rebels for protection? That's too risky.

You never guessed it: Like hundreds of other victims of injustice, they air their grievances to Raffy Tulfo on his Wanted sa Radio program (on RMN DZXL, 2 to 4 p. m., Monday thru Friday, with Niña Taduran as co-host) and, believe it or not, they get the justice they could never hope to that fast from other quarters.

How did I know, you might wonder.

Well, most days of the week on the way to The STAR, I usually tune in to Raffy's program and I get a kick out of his fast and feisty style of helping solve just any crime (yes, including murder!), never mind if, in the process, he has to dress down a police- or military-man whom he suspects of “covering up” or being involved in a dubious operation; engaging a non-performing government official in a heated argument (which he often spices up with, well, colorful language and a few curses and some necessary name-calling here and there); and threatening to put a criminal under “citizen arrest” (with Raffy as the arresting citizen) if he continues to refuse to give up to the authorities.

Of course, the surname rings a bell.

As everybody knows by now, Raffy is one of the Tulfo Quartet which is composed of fearless crime-fighting brothers but doing so individually, each in his own way. Eldest is Ramon (Mon, of Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo fame) who is the brothers' mentor, with Erwin (who has moved from ABS-CBN to RMN DZXL where he hosts a daily morning program with Doris Bigornia, also a former ABS-CBN talent) as the younger brother. Between Mon and Erwin are Ben Tulfo (host of the IBC 13 “reel-reality” crime-solving show Bitag featured in this corner early last month) and Raffy who lived for 13 years in the US where, he recounted in a previous Funfare interview, he helped foil a hold-up at the gas station where he was working.

Asked what sets Wanted sa Radio (so titled because he also writes a “Wanted” column for Abante and Abante Tonite) apart from those of the other Tulfos' shows, Raffy simply said, “What makes my show different from other public-service shows? Well, it's my 'Action Agad!' style. I want action taken right there and then, so those who come to seek my help go away feeling easy, with the burden taken off their backs. ”

That's right.

A case was soon filed against the employer of the maltreated maid, summoned to the air by Raffy with dispatch the way perhaps not many courts can do, and Raffy gave the maid transportation money back to the province.

The greedy landlord was put in place by the barangay captain and the family (and appliances) of the tenant were put back into the apartment after Raffy had conducted an impromptu “hearing on air. ”

And the jeepney driver got back his license without giving any lagay (grease money) to the kotong cop who was duly disciplined by his superior.

Public-service/crime-fighting media guys like Raffy (and his brothers) are popular among and well-loved by the people because they perform with quick results what the duly-certified authorities cannot or do not (because they are sleeping on the job).

“But it's not only the poor who come to me for help but also the rich,” Raffy qualified. “But most of the rich people's problems are about business collectibles, so I advise them to get the best lawyers they can afford. I make suggestions and recommendations. ”

In some sensitive cases, after initial on-air discussion, the final resolution is usually done off the air to avoid putting the parties involved in embarrassing situations, such as when a maid (often the victims, or haven't you noticed?) is impregnated by her employer.

Like the other Tulfos (and media guys who, in the line of duty, get involved in the same risky business of running after lawless elements), Raffy came to the job fully prepared. He's a martial-arts expert, a sharp-shooter and he knows the law. Does he go around with bodyguards? It's not obvious.

And like the other Tulfos, Raffy is saddled with threats of libel and loads of death threats.

“I put my life on the line every day,” said Raffy who, for understandable reasons, would rather not talk about his wife and children. He never leaves home without making the Sign of the Cross and entrusting himself in the hands of The Great Protector.

As precaution, he doesn't take the same route every day from home and back. Perhaps he has gotten so used to death threats and other “threats” besides that he doesn't even have to look to his left and to his right or at his back all the time. Having been at it for years, he should know how to read even the faintest danger signal and smell it miles away.

“Some people can be very daring,” he added. “One time, somebody who I'm sure wanted to do me harm showed up at RMN pretending to be a lawyer. But he was unmasked before he could make a wrong move. ”

Meanwhile, let's excuse Mr. Action-Agad while he attends to the next case.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar. net. ph or at entphilstar@yahoo. com)

Source: The Philippine Star