So tell us, what have you been up to?
I have a TV show called Kamao and a radio program called Wanted sa Radio for DZXL. I also write for Abante and Abante Tonite.
Among all of ’em, do you have a preference?
Yung sa DZXL. Maaksyon at bakbakan eh. There’s never a dull moment. The minute I step into the booth at hawak ko na ang mic, that’s it. I feel like I’m in a war zone.
When did you get your calling?
I started in 1998 so that’s seven years now.
How did it all start?
I was in the States. Once, my brother Mon visited me and something happened. I experienced a holdup sa store ko and my brother told me, “Mamamatay ka rito nang walang kalaban-laban, nang walang kabuluhan.” Nakipagbarilan kasi ako roon. Sabi niya kung sa Pilipinas ako makikipagbarilan, at least makakatulong pa ako sa kapwa ko. When I came back, and I saw what my brother Mon was doing back then, I saw kung paano siya nilalapitan ng mga taong humihingi ng tulong sa kanya so I was encouraged.
When you’re with your brothers, do you get a lot of slapping?
Wala naman. When we get together nagbibiruan lang kami. Kunwari sasabihin, “Ikaw pag nagsasalita ka sa TV, bisaya ka.” Or, “Ikaw pag nagsasalita ka sa TV mukha kang kenkoy.” Nagbibiruan lang pero never naman naming kini-criticize yung isang brother para saktan siya o laitin siya. Criticize in a joking manner at kaunting biruan sa mga chicks.
The Tulfo brothers seem pretty aggressive. Result of genetics?
If you listen to my radio program as well as Mon’s, you’d hear how aggressive we really are. Well my dad was in the military. Yung tapang sa dad namin nakuha. Yung compassionate side, yung pagtulong sa kapwa, sa mother naman.
To date, how many libel cases are under your belt?
Naku, siguro nasa 18 mahigit. I lost count na nung umabot ako ng double digits. Hindi ko na binibilang. After 10, I stopped counting. Marami nang nabasura. Ongoing, five or six.
And how many death threats?
Almost every day. In fact kanina lang pumasok sa text line namin. Binabantaan ako. Bumili na raw ako ng itim na barong. Yun ang unang text. Pangalawa, he asked kung ano ba ang size ko dahil magpapadala raw sila ng tao rito, susukatan daw ako ng mga taga funeral parlor for my coffin. Almost every day, I receive that kind of death threat. Pero manhid na ako.
How was your first one?
Nung first death threat ko, sinulatan ako na within 72 hours, magkikita na raw kami nung isa pang journalist na pinatay. Maghanda na raw ako. Pinabayaan ko lang. Tapos nagkaroon ng countdown. Yung nagbanta, laging nagpe-page and he kept on reminding me about the 72-hour deadline. Sabi sa page, “Ready ka na ba? Mayroon ka na bang insurance? Alam mo na ba kung saan ka ililibing?” What I did was, nagtago ako sa CR at inantay ko hanggang sa lumampas yung oras. Dun na nga ako natulog sa CR. Ngayon, when I get death threats, naaalala ko yun. Natatawa na lang ako.
Swell. You still get terrified of them?
I’d be lying if I tell you that I’m not afraid of death threats. Pero dahil sanay na, I know now how to handle them. Kapag may death threat, head on. Kapag may nagbabanta sa akin, hinahamon ko. That’s the way to do it to erase the fear. Hamunin mo. But be ready for it. Kapag hinamon mo, dapat panindigan mo.
Okay we’re keeping that in mind. Don’t you get annoyed with all the bodyguards following you around all day?
It’s really necessary. Kung ako ang masusunod, I don’t like to have bodyguards because wala kang privacy. Wherever you go, susunod sila. Kahit sa sinehan, they have to be there. Pero I have to have them kasi maraming gustong magpatumba sa akin.
Ever been held at gunpoint?
Awa ng Diyos, hindi pa naman. Pero if it happens, I’m ready. Magkakapatayan muna before that happens.
Do you carry a gun around?
Yeah, I do. It’s a licensed gun that I carry wherever I go. But what will you do with a gun if you don’t know how to use it? I do target shooting. Lalo na yung quick draw sa shooting range. Pati sa bahay, for 30 minutes a day I practice.
Don’t you get bummed listening to people’s problems every day?
Kung minsan nakaka-stress. Kasi siyempre may problema kang sarili and here come all these people with all these kinds of problems. Bubuhatin ko rin yun. Parang buhat-buhat ko nga ang mundo.
Don’t you get nightmares because of them?
Nung una. Pero ngayon, okay na.
Does being a journalist equate to a lot of dough?
No, it doesn’t, unless you have your own company. I have my own production company. I produce a radio program and a TV show. And I have my premiums. I can convert it to cash through sponsorships. Kikita ka. Pero kung talent ka, it’s not so profitable. But with my other brothers like Erwin, ayun lucrative yun. I know some media men na in being a talent they get P500,000 to P1M.
So tell us, what have you been up to?