MANILA – After receiving multiple reports from passengers about the ‘laglag bala’ (dropped bullet) modus operandi at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), authorities have began a thorough investigation on the new extortion scheme.
“The investigation is ongoing. As to the two security screening officers involved, ‘yung isa doon (one of them) was a baggage inspector, the other one was an x-ray operator,” NAIA spokesman David de Castro said in a GMA News report.
“Never namin ipagsasawalang bahala [ang ganitong insidente] lalo na we cater to these passengers lalo na at karamihan dito ay turista. We would want to make sure na lahat sila ay secure naman whenever they transit through the airport,” he added.
(We will never disregard these kinds of incidents especially since we cater to passengers who are mostly tourists. We would want to make sure that they all feel secured whenever they transit through the airport.)
According to NAIA passengers, a bullet or two would be slipped into a passenger’s baggage before it goes through an x-ray procedure. An airport officer would then ask the victim to pay a certain amount for the personnel to overlook the incident. Passengers who declined to pay were detained for a couple of days under police custody for allegedly concealing a bullet in his checked-in baggage.
The alleged airport officers behind the modus were already relieved from post but investigations on the extortion scheme remained ongoing.
“Kami naman po, without formal complaint, agad namin itong inaksyunan. ‘Yun po ay isang pagpapakita na talagang siniseryoso namin at ayaw po namin itong mga pangyayaring ito,” Office for Transportation Security (OTS) spokesperson Jojo Maliwat said in a different report.
(Without formal complaint, we immediately took action over the issue. It shows that we are serious about it and that we abhor these kinds of incidences.)
“Basta ang stand namin dito pag nagkamali ang tauhan namin talagang papatawan natin ng kaparusahan ‘yan,” he added.
(Our stand here is that if our personnel commit wrongdoings, we will really apply sanctions.)
Maliwat, however, asserted that the ‘laglag bala’ modus was only an isolated case and asked the public not to prejudge other airport officers.
“Hindi naman natin inilalahat… Pagbigyan lang po natin ‘yung ongoing investigation kasi po lahat naman po ng anggulo dito, tinitingnan natin,” he said.
(We do not generalize… Let’s allow the ongoing investigation [to come up with findings first] because we are looking at every angle here.)