MANILA, Philippines – Aside from being badly outnumbered, there could be another reason why journalist Mon Tulfo got beaten up: he reportedly faced mixed martial arts (MMA) enthusiasts.
|Raymart Santiago-Mon Tulfo scuffle
Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said in an interview on ANC’s Prime Time on Tuesday that he received reports that those implicated in the commotion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are MMA trainees.
“I'm getting some information that some of them, in fact are UFC trainees and so hindi ito ‘yung pangkaraniwan na mga pasahero,” said Roxas.
Roxas said that this maybe the reason why Raymart Santiago and Eduardo Atilano were able to gang up on Tulfo despite being restrained by airport security officers.
“Maari na na-overpower nila ‘yung mga ilang security natin,” explained Roxas.
MMA is a combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground.
It includes boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, judo and other styles.
Tulfo himself is reportedly an aikido practitioner, but he was badly outnumbered by Santiago’s group.
Airport security personnel present during the brawl were criticized for allegedly failing to protect Tulfo.
Airport security response appropriate
Roxas, however, said the airport security did the best they could to stop the fight.
“Makikita natin sa video 'yung mga security guard ay nandoon, they were not absent, they were in position. andun sila inaaawat nila hinihiwalay nila ‘yung mga nag-aaway and nagawa naman nila ang kanilang trabaho,” he explained.
Roxas pointed out that the main focus of the airport security personnel is on anti-terrorism and anti-smuggling.
“Their principal focus is not restraining pugilists. Their principal focus is anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling, improvised explosive devices. Ito 'yung mga pinagtutuunan nila ng pansin... drugs, guns na mga inii-smuggle,” he said.
“Wag naman nating punahin, 'wag naman nating idiin 'yung security system ng NAIA dahil minsan lang nangyari ito.”
Tulfo and the group of Santiago and his wife Claudine Barreto figured in a brawl at the NAIA over the weekend.
The commotion started when Tulfo was caught taking pictures of Barreto, who was berating an airline employee.