Are you obliged to appear in "Tulfo"?

The answer is no.

First of all, obligations arise from law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts and quasi-delicts. (Article 1157, Civil Code of the Philippines) An obligation is the juridical necessity to do, to give or not to do. (Article 1156)

What the above legal provisions mean is that a person can only be legally compelled to do or not to do something if law or contract provides. Non-compliance with law or valid contract can be a ground (cause of action) to go to court and have the erring person or party made liable.

There is no law that compels any person to appear in "Tulfo in Action" or any other show for the purpose of extracting from her a statement relating to her side of a controversy. In fact, if a person threatens physical harm upon another or threatens that the latter's name or reputation will be besmirched or marred on television or on the Internet, the former may be held liable for a crime under Act No. 3815 (Revised Penal Code of the Philippines).

If, indeed, a person has been maliciously dishonored through attacks against her reputation, this may be a case of criminal defamation. Articles 353 to 362 of the Revised Penal Code (under CRIMES AGAINST HONOR) provide for the penalties for such criminal act.

Another argument against the appearance of persons in Tulfo's show is that it is not the proper forum for the settlement of controversies. The law recognizes the courts, other tribunals and the Katarungang Pambarangay system as the proper forum for such purpose.

Of course, the social value of settling disputes without having to go through government channels is important so that dockets are not clogged. Out-of-court settlements should definitely be encouraged but it is every person's right to refuse to appear in "Tulfo's court" (a joke popular on the Internet).

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