No syndicate behind ‘tanim-bala’, says NBI

By , on December 11, 2015

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MANILA—The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), in a report submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed that a bullet-planting scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) indeed exists. However, the agency claimed that there is no syndicate behind the scam and pointed to airport employees as perpetrators.

The findings of the NBI have led to filing of charges against two Office for Transportation Security (OTS) personnel and four members of the Aviation Security Group.

“Based on investigation, there was indeed an instance of the tanim-bala scam by corrupt OTS officers to obtain financial considerations in lieu of non-filing of cases against passengers,” DOJ Undersecretary and spokesman Emmanuel Caparas was quoted as saying in a Philippine Star report.

The two of defendants in the criminal case filed by the NBI are Marvin Garcia and Ma. Elma Cegna of OTS. They have been named by Michael Lane White, the American missionary who claimed that he was a victim of the bullet planting scam, as the two luggage inspectors who found a .22 caliber bullet from his luggage. Cegna reportedly asked Lane’s stepmother, Eloisa Zoleta, to just admit that Michael had a bullet in his possession when he entered the airport.

The other respondents were Police Insp. Adriano Junio, Senior Police Officer 4 Ramon Bernardo, SPO2 Romy Navarro and Rolando Clarin of the ASG.

Junio was also named by White in a probe conducted by the Senate as the police officer who asked him of P30,000 to ‘settle’ the matter.

The NBI reviewed historical data from the past five years in identifying whether a syndicate was behind the bullet-planting scam or not.

Chief Insp. Samuel Hojilla told the Philippine Star yesterday that the group will not tolerate illegal activities committed by their members.