Erwin Tulfo sorry for 'excessive rants' vs. DSWD chief Bautista, but won't retract criticisms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo on Friday apologized for his fiery on-air tirades and threats against Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, but he refused to take back his remark that the Cabinet official is inefficient.

"I ask for an apology sa excessive ranting, 'yung sobrang pagmumura at galit ay medyo nasobrahan nga. five minutes of ranting, I think that was too much... Pero 'yung pagpupuna sa kanya na wala siyang ginagawa, na kailangan magtrabaho siya, it will stay. Hindi ko babawiin iyun, because wala sa lahi namin na binabawi ng commentaries namin about trabaho mo," he told CNN Philippines.

A furious Tulfo, a host in the government channel and radio station, berated the retired Army general on his program on DZRB Radyo Pilipinas for allegedly refusing to grant an interview and for telling the show to send an official interview request.

"Tinatawagan ka namin para marinig ng mga kababayan nating mahihirap ang stand ng mga mahihirap. Hindi 'yung sasabihan mo kami na sumulat muna kayo five days before. Eh sino ka bang p**** ka na kailangan ko pang sumulat-sulat sa'yo? Sagutin mo 'yang telepono mo dahil ikaw ay DSWD!" he said in his show.

The radio broadcaster's attacks continued: "Sampalin kita 'pag nakita kitang buang ka eh, wala akong pakialam ke retired General ka, mudmurin ko yung mukha mo sa inidoro. Dagdag ka sa problema."

He said he wanted to interview Bautista to ask about DSWD's plans following the recent signing of anti-poverty measure Magna Carta of the Poor. He said Bautista owes an explanation to the public.

"Yung 'Wala kang silbi,' that I will not take back because ayaw niyang sumagot. Mga tao nag-aantay. Eversince maupo si Secretary Bautista sa DWSD, ni nungka hindi malaman ng mga tao ang plataporma niya o ano ang plano niya sa ahensya," he said.

Tulfo's outburst did not sit well with active and retired military officers, who vouched for the former Army chief's professionalism and character. The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association said they will file libel and oral defamation cases and a complaint with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) against the broadcaster.

Philippine Information Agency Director-General Harold Clavit also called Tulfo "poisonous and pretentious" and a "superstar wannabe," questioning his brand of journalism.

Over 2,000 people have signed a change.org petition for Tulfo to offer a "sincere apology" to Bautista.

CNN Philippines has reached out to Bautista but he declined to give a comment.