"Anna" a woman who claims to have witnessed the Sunday airport brawl involving columnist Ramon 'Mon' Tulfo and celebrity-couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto is corroborating the claims of the actors that Tulfo had kicked Barretto in the moments just prior to the melee.
The woman, who had also arrived at the airport's Terminal 3 within the same hour as Tulfo and Santiago and Barretto, said she was within 20 meters and "hearing distance" of the three personalities last Sunday when the fight - captured and made infamous by a video posted on YouTube - erupted. By the woman's estimate, up to 100 other people - airport workers as well as mostly passengers from various flights standing around baggage carousels - also witnessed the incident.
"We saw this woman ranting at these personnel over what I presumed was lost baggage," the alleged witness going by the pseudonym "Anna" told InterAksyon.com over a phone interview. "But what really made me turn and take notice was when she started addressing this man in a photographer's jacket."
Anna says she did not recognize Barretto, her husband, Raymart, nor Tulfo, and did not realize who they were until she got home and some hours later saw news reports and the YouTube video of what transpired next.
"The woman started shouting, 'Abusado yan!' and 'Are you taking photographs of us?'" She said she saw "the man in the gray shirt" - apparently referring to Santiago - approach "the man in the photographer's jacket" - Tulfo - asking, "Ano 'yan? Ano 'yan?"
Tulfo, she said, started making "fast" movements, "not really punches the way a boxer would do, but more like kung fu moves." He jabbed and "pushed with a kick" - a hand and a foot moving forward simultaneously - apparently trying to create space and ward off the approaching Santiago. Tulfo has acknowledged shoving Santiago, saying the actor was trying to confiscate his cellphone. "Sinapak niya," Anna said, though she could not say exactly where Santiago was hit.
Claudine then started approaching as well, Anna said. Tulfo again moved with his arms and legs, while Claudine was shouting, "What are you doing?" the witness said. "Tumili si Claudine, and at this point, security was rushing," Anna said. She then noticed how Tulfo hid his phone in a breast pocket, and, with empty hands waving the air, "mocked" Claudine. "Wala, wala akong cellphone," Anna quoted Tulfo.
At this point, Anna said, "we had thought that the whole thing was about this dirty old tourist who was taking pictures of this lady. And so we were actually trying to support her." She admits she wasn't aware of Tulfo's own claimed context behind Sunday's confrontation. The Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, radio commentator and TV5 talent says he was taking pictures to document Barretto's behaviour towards the Cebu Pacific ground crew, which he suggested had gone from being rude to being abusive.
In any case, Anna said, they could only make out how Tulfo had hidden his phone and was denying he even had one on his person. "Nasa bulsa ang cellphone! Nasa bulsa ang cellphone!" Anna said. Santiago and Barretto supposedly asked aloud if there were any policemen or security personnel who could compel Tulfo to give up his cellphone. Anna quotes Barretto as saying, "Hanapin niyo ang cellphone. Pakita niyo sa akin." Within arm's length, supposedly, of Tulfo, she was egging on security personnel to get Tulfo's phone, ostensibly to verify whether or not he had taken pictures of Barretto.
Then, Anna said, "We saw him assault Claudine." She said Tulfo "pushed and kicked" again. "Natamaan si Claudine. I can't say where exactly, but sa may thigh area," she said. That, Anna said, is what caused Santiago and his companions to pounce on Tulfo. "The video that we saw and that everybody has seen, that was the end of the whole thing na." She insists that Tulfo's account of the incident, as she's seen in the news, "is not correct."
Meanwhile, In her sworn affidavit, airport security guard Eden Modejas said she saw Barretto berating Cebu Pacific ground staff Cid Charisse Bocboc and Kristine Anne Ilagan. Modejas said Barretto was shouting at the 2 Cebu Pacific personnel, catching the attention of airport staff and other passengers.
Modejas said it was during Barretto's tirade that she noticed a commotion about five meters from where she was standing. She used her two-way radio to call for back up because Barretto’s husband, Raymart Santiago, was attacking a male passenger despite the presence of other security guards pacifying the scuffle.
Modejas did not mention anything about Tulfo allegedly kicking or shoving Barretto. Santiago earlier said he attacked Tulfo when he saw the veteran journalist kick and shove his wife. Meanwhile, Bocboc and Ilagan, in their handwritten statement submitted to airport police, said that Barretto was fuming mad and was demanding for an explanation for their missing luggage.
They said the actress wanted to get the name of the Caticlan manager as to who offloaded their luggage. Bocboc said Barretto did not want to listen to their explanation on why her luggage was offloaded. They said Barretto demanded a round-trip ticket in exchange for the delay of her bags. Bocboc and Ilagan said they were talking to Barretto in front of the passenger assistance counter when they noticed Santiago assaulting a male passenger. The two (2)airline staff made no mention of Tulfo allegedly kicking or shoving Barretto while they were at the passenger assistance counter.
Airport sources said this is not the first time that Claudine figured in a “drama” at the airport. Two years ago, when she and Raymart Santiago missed their Los Angeles flight because they came late and the counter was already closed, Claudine allegedly confronted one of the supervisors and told him “baka gusto mong mawalan ng trabaho kung di mo kami pasasakayin, isang tawag lang iyan.” The supervisor called the gate and asked the pilot to spare a few minutes before pushing back from the tube to accommodate the showbiz couple.
Source: ABS-CBN, GMA News and Interaksyon