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Mon Tulfo -- July 2000

The tough guy on Ping Lacson, police abuse, and his definition of justice

by istop | Feb 1, 2000
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What has been the worst case of police abuse that you’ve seen?
All acts of police abuse seem the same to me. Policemen abuse the rights of a citizen. We at Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo, for example, have handled a case where a certain police captain hit this guy on the chest and the guy died. He was just visiting a friend in jail. And then there was this man who was jailed for failing to pay his debt. He was taken to the San Juan municipal jail and was beaten up on orders of the warden.

With all these cases that you’ve covered, do you still consider yourself an optimist or a cynic?

I’m a cynic. It shows in my face, in my language, and in my outlook. But I would say I’m both an optimist and a pessimist. When I handle cases of police abuse, I’m a pessimist. I’m an optimist when I see the good side of humanity.

Is there a policeman you admire?
I’d say Panfilo Lacson would be near to it. He’s a no-nonsense cop. He hates crime like the plague. A lot of people say he goes overboard, getting himself involved in rubouts sometimes. But I go with him on that.

But rubouts go against human rights.
What about the rights of the criminals’ victims? It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We have a flawed criminal justice system here. Criminals go scot-free because of corruption in the judiciary, in the police, in the fiscal’s office. So there are policemen who take the law into their own hands. Not that I tolerate them. Not that I say they’re right. But I think that given the circumstances, they’re not going overboard either.

You’ve been criticized for your tendency to go overboard yourself.

This is a crusade. I’m a very emotional person. When I face the guy being complained about, I forget about the camera. Somebody asked me if what I say or do in front of the TV camera is put-on, and I say it’s not. If you notice, I have a hard time smiling during the pictorial. When photographer asks “Can you smile, Mr. Tulfo?” lagging pilit ang smile ko.

What is justice for you?
Justice is when a complaint is given action. Justice, to me, is revenge. You hit me, I hit back.

What does being Mon Tulfo mean?
Mon Tulfo means dependability, fairness, and compassion. If they just look deeper, they’d realize that I’m a compassionate and fair guy who just hates injustice so much.

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