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Why Do People Seek Tulfo for Legal Help? We Asked a Lawyer!

You can't file a case against the person who reported you per se, but here's what you can do.

It’s mind-boggling how people nowadays resort to a popular public service show on TV to air their grievances against their kapitbahay, spouses, or other people. So much so that Raffy Tulfo, the host, is now the face of Philippine justice.

Just recently, a post about a popular fast-food chain became viral when the aggrieved customer reported the incident to Raffy Tulfo in Action (RTIA). Netizens were torn— one side says it is the right of the person to file a case and raise awareness on the health and safety protocols of the fast-food; while the other says that the lady is just doing it for clout and cash. 

Whatever the case may be, many people believed that the issue being reported to the public service program solidifies many claims that the country’s legal system is moot and unjust. (Read: Caritas PH to Launch Legal Consultation Service for Pinoy Workers)

So we ask Atty. Beatrice Varona why this trend is happening and what can you do if someone reported you to Tulfo.

Photo from Raffy Tulfo in Action YouTube

Why do people go to Tulfo when they are in a legal predicament?

As a lawyer, the reasons why I think some people go to RTIA when they are in a legal predicament are because one, the program is accessible; two it has a simple and uncomplicated process; and three, it is expedient in giving solutions to their problem— especially when we compare RTIA to how our legal system works.

Although I am not aware of how RTIA entertains people with grievances, I think anyone who wants to contact them can just send a message to their Facebook page. It is accessible in that sense. With just a lift of a finger, the complainant can be heard or at least feel heard without stepping a foot outside his/her house. Whereas, if you compare it with filing a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, people have no idea where to go and much more, how to do it. 

Also, RTIA has a simple and expedient way of acting on or giving solutions to a person’s issue. It is simpler because those who seek RTIA’s aid do not need to comply with legal processes (which could be very lengthy, technical, complicated, or confusing to laymen) to get a solution to their problem. (Read: Pope Approves Launching of Virtual ‘Fratelli Tutti’ School)

Photo from Raffy Tulfo in Action YouTube

What legal means can a person do first instead of going to Tulfo?

Resort to legal and lawful means. Go to your barangay officials for barangay conciliation. If you need legal assistance you can seek the help of the Public Attorney’s Office. (Read: 3 Things to Do After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine)

What can a person do when they are reported to Tulfo? Can they opt not to answer?

Yes, of course. Anyone who is reported to RTIA can opt not to answer. Personally, watching few episodes of RTIA gave me the impression that people answer the allegations at RTIA as if they are required to do so and they treat a phone call from RTIA as if it is a subpoena. But being reported to RTIA is nowhere near the same as having a case filed against you before a judicial, quasi-judicial, or other legitimate tribunals.

Even with a case before the court, the court has to make sure that it has jurisdiction over the person before it can compel it to answer the allegations against it. Only the court and other tribunals who have subpoena powers can require a person to appear before it and testify by virtue of a subpoena. RTIA is not a judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative court.

Photo from Pattanaphong Khuankaew/

Can you file a case against the person who took the case to Raffy Tulfo in Action

In other words, is the act of complaining to RTIA per se legally actionable? No, it’s not. Unless, you want to pursue unjust vexation. Unjust vexation is treated as the catch-all criminal provision for those acts that may have fallen short of being considered as other criminal offenses under the revised penal code and special laws but have caused you annoyance anyway. (Read: 5 Ways to Ace a Job Interview, According to Millennial HR Manager)

Also, the other person may have committed other acts that would constitute a criminal offense. For example, while at RTIA, the other person could have committed oral defamation against you by imputing a crime, vice, defect, or any act, status, or circumstances that tend to cause dishonor, discredit, or contempt to you. It’s possible to file a case against that person then.

Can you file a case against Raffy Tulfo and his team?

No, what they’re doing is not actionable. (But similar to the third question, you can file a case for unjust vexation, but the basis is that RTIA’s act of dragging you to the case annoyed you)

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