Seasoned broadcast and print journalist Ramon Tulfo unleashed his fury on air against a Tagbilaran City prosecutor last week over a traffic accident case involving a seaman and the fiscal’s son.
Tulfo spent a considerable amount of airtime lambasting City Prosecutor Romeo Chatto (not related with Gov. Edgar M. Chatto) on the air in his radio program over Radio Pilipinas 738 kHz.
The broadcaster spewed invectives at the fiscal and accused the public official of using his position allegedly to favor his son and to file a case against the seaman.
Tulfo even wrote about the incident in his “On Target” column published in the national broadsheet, Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Edward Auguis, a seaman, who got into a vehicular accident back in May 2017.
In his narration, Auguis was riding his motorcycle along the national highway in Baclayon town.
Auguis figured in a head-on collision with the sports utility vehicle allegedly driven by the 16-year-old son of the prosecutor.
The motorcycle was a total wreck and the seaman, due to the impact, went through the windshield.
The teenager and companions suffered minor injuries due to the shattered windshield.
Tulfo said in his column, the SUV, which allegedly hogged the lane occupied by the motorcycle driven by Auguis, was driven by the fiscal’s son who allegedly didn’t have a driver’s license.
The broadcaster said the law should have been Auguis’ side since the teenager did not have a license and “apparently did not know traffic laws.”
Both camps filed charges and counter-charges, and Auguis maintained his case was dismissed and the case against him filed by the other camp went through.
Tulfo said the prosecutor who filed the criminal case against Auguis was Bohol Provincial Prosecutor Raul Cristoria.
The broadcaster smelled something wrong about the incident saying it may be a “case of accommodation between two prosecutors.”
Auguis filed a motion for reconsideration of the case, which was dismissed by Cristoria.
Based on the sketch report from the police, Tulfo deduced the boy was making a left turn and instead of moving towards another lane, the turn was made in the wrong lane causing the accident.
Auguis only learned the boy’s father is a prosecutor, two days after the incident. Both faced each other at the Baclayon Police Station as Auguis was about to file a complaint. The prosecutor was there and allegedly berated Auguis.
To get his side during the “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” radio program, Chatto said there is already a case filed against Auguis in court.
Chatto insisted it was Auguis who collided with his son’s car, shifting the blame about the incident onto the seaman.
Tulfo alleged Chatto used his influence to skew the situation to his favor.
Chatto denied that he had a hand in ensuring a case will be filed against Auguis.
The prosecutor said he is merely exercising his right to file a case.
When confronted with the police report by Tulfo, Chatto, on air, said the police report is irrelevant at this point since there is already a case filed.
Chatto said if there is a question about the case filed, the matter should be raised to the prosecutor that handled the case and not with him.
At the same time, Chatto said the police never said his son was at fault in the incident and shifted the blame to the seaman.
The prosecutor insisted there is jurisprudence over the incident involving his minor son, but failed to mention it on air.
The call was cut abruptly and the discussion between Tulfo and Chatto on air also died.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ACTION
Tulfo sought the help of Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan to figure out the Auguis case.
Catalan gave his word on air that a thorough and deeper probe will be done to find out the facts of the case.
The Prosecutor General was told the SUV driver had no driver’s license and said there should be a separate case and not related to the case at hand.
Auguis has since filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice.
Catalan said only the secretary and the undersecretaries of the DOJ are tasked to handle the petition for review.
Auguis was forced to file a petition for review after his case got dismissed at the prosecutor level.
Catalan said he is willing to help in referring Auguis to the right authorities in his petition for review. (Dave S. Albarado)