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Panic and outrage over ‘tanim-bala’

 

http://opinion.inquirer.net/90060/panic-and-outrage-over-tanim-bala

12:30 AM November 5th, 2015

One of the costs the whole world continues to pay for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States is the intrusive security inspection that travelers everywhere have had to endure when they check in at airports.  Worried for their own safety, they have learned to accept the need for these procedures even when these seem capricious, excessive and unwarranted.
One often submits to an airport security inspector with the same sense of dread and vulnerability that one feels while undergoing a medical procedure.  But, while a patient’s anxiety might be greatly eased by an implicit trust in the doctor, that of an airline passenger is often aggravated by a lingering fear that an unsympathetic or power-tripping security inspector might find the smallest reason to hold and delay one’s travel.
This is the broader context in which we might begin to understand the sudden explosion of public panic and outrage that has been triggered by recent media reports of a growing number of passengers being victimized by syndicates at our airports. The modus operandi entails planting live bullets in people’s bags for the purpose of later extorting money from the hapless victims.  This panic has taken the rather paranoid form of passengers wrapping their luggage in rolls of plastic and packing tape as a precaution against planted ammunition. A public that, to start with, harbors a negative view of airport personnel in general does not need more than one instance of “tanim-bala” to confirm its darkest suspicions.

My own reflex reaction to these events mirrors this sad and unexamined cynicism. I thought that the problem was easy enough to solve: Immediately suspend the personnel who “found” bullets in passengers’ bags and then offered to “fix” the problem for a fee. I said: Let the victims go uncharged, and file criminal charges against the concerned airport security people. They could be guilty not just of extortion but also of the more serious offense of planting evidence.  The implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 10591, known as The Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, prescribes the penalty of reclusion perpetua for “planting of evidence” when committed by government employees.
I think I am not alone in this rush to judgment, which presumes the total innocence of the victims and the culpability of the airport personnel.  Our moral intuition tells us that while low-paid employees, like X-ray operators and baggage inspectors, might always be inclined to earn extra money on the side, ordinary folks have no reason to be carrying one or two pieces of live ammunition in their travel bags. I now believe that this problem is not as simple as it may appear at first glance; there’s a need to take a second look at the situation.
First, we have to be open to the possibility that, even in these modern times, some people do regard live bullets as amulets.  They keep them in their pockets or in their bags to ward off malevolent spirits and protect them from spells cast by the power of witchcraft.  Their worldview, says Ben Anderson, treats power as “intangible, mysterious, and driven energy which animates the universe… [and] is manifested in every aspect of the natural world, in stones, trees, clouds, and fire” (quoted in R. Ileto’s “Pasyon at Rebolusyon”).  It is not strange at all that some folks might think of the stored energy contained in a single bullet as the most potent form of such power. They see the magic in the bullet, but not the ammunition that it is in the eyes of the law.
Second, given the frequency with which airport inspectors discover bullets in the bags or pockets of passengers, it is not farfetched to suspect that, at one point, someone with a criminal mind might have thought of spinning an entire extortion racket around this practice. That is when “tanim-bala” might have begun, enlisting the assistance of taxi drivers, baggage handlers, etc. to lodge those incriminating items in the bags of unsuspecting travelers.
Third, the law itself, RA 10591, is quite uncompromising: It punishes mere unlawful possession of an unspent bullet, and gives law enforcers the right to confiscate any part of a bullet that is in one’s unlawful possession. A friend of mine had to let go of a small bullet casing containing a minute portion of his late father’s precious ashes that he wore as part of a bracelet around his wrist. To all intents and purposes, this piece of ornament could not be classified as ammunition. But the copper casing that used to house a slug betrayed traces of its lethal past.  He had to surrender it to airport security as though it were a firearm.
Until RA 10591 is cleansed of its draconian features, it makes no sense to delay people’s trips because inspectors have found one or two bullets in their bags.  By all means, confiscate these objects. But, as a matter of policy, do not delay passengers further than necessary, unless there is reasonable ground to believe that, given the quantity of bullets in their possession, they are engaged in the unlawful traffic of ammunition.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that the more troubling issue here is the extortion that tends to accompany nearly every incident of this nature.  Without the prospect of extorting money, “tanim-bala” loses its purpose. Passengers must be emboldened to file complaints against airport personnel who threaten them with prosecution and offer to get them out of their predicament in exchange for money. The justice system has to take every such complaint seriously, with the courts tacitly leaning on the side of the complainants.  That is the only way to put a stop to this outrageous racket.
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Couldn't be a better example of  stupidity. Where do they find these folks? With international news organizations picking up the story, tourists will stay away in droves. Couldn't be a better reason t

My wife wonders why I dislike the Philippines,    I showed her these articles and her response was along these lines,   I was talking to my family last night and they know nothing about it so it

I like the chairmans attitude 

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Honrado: Quitting not the solution; no evidence of Naia syndicate so far

 

07:49 PM November 5th, 2015

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737282/honrado-quitting-not-the-solution-no-evidence-of-naia-syndicate-so-far

 

 

AMID calls for his resignation over the alleged “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) extortion scheme, Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) general manager Jose Angel Honrado has maintained that he will not step down from his post, as this was not the solution to the reported racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
“Resignation is not a solution just because there is an issue. I don’t run away from a good fight,” Honrado said in an interview with ANC Headstart on Thursday.
READ: Naia boss dodges airport bullet controversy | ‘Tanim bala’ case triggers probe call

Noting that his powers as Miaa chief were limited by laws, Honrado answered an affirmative “yes” when asked if he felt that his hands were clipped in exercising authority in security at Naia.
“There are 22 agencies operating in the airport. Not all agencies report to me,” he said. “Miaa does not have the authority to either hire or fire personnel…  As general manager, I don’t have the power to revise the system. I can only recommend.”
Honrado spoke of his accomplishments instead, noting that the number of daily flights at Naia have increased from 600 to 800 under his watch. A retired general, he took over Naia operations in 2010.
But he said he would resign “if I feel that I am no longer contributing to the ‘Daang Matuwid,’” referring to the administration’s reform on good governance and anticorruption drive.
Honrado also admitted that he is personally related to President Benigno Aquino III, his mother being a second cousin of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Amid growing public outcry over the Naia scam, lawmakers and various sectors have called for the sacking of transportation officials and airport executives. Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano also filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman seeking to suspend Honrado, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, and two others for supposed neglect of duty.
READ: Ouster of airport execs in ‘tanim-bala’ pressed | Cayetano files complaint vs Abaya, airport execs over ‘tanim-bala’
‘No evidence of syndicate’
Honrado maintained that there are no concrete proofs yet of an existing syndicate which supposedly carries out the scam at Naia, but added that there were “opportunists.”
“So far we don’t have evidence indicating syndicates are working at the airport. But opportunists, yes,” he said.
But the Inquirer has confirmed through a source at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that an extortion syndicate consisting of various units in the airport victimizing mainly migrant workers and the elderly indeed exists.
“Each unit has an assigned task and roles, its members are recruited by longtime workers in the four airport terminals,” the source said. “The syndicate is composed of various airport workers such as immigration personnel, airport police, C-ray scanners, baggage inspectors, and porters.”
The Department of Justice has ordered the NBI to form a task force to probe the reported bullet-planting incidents.
READ: Naia syndicate confirmed | DOJ creates task force to probe ‘tanim-bala’ scam at Naia
Noting that the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa is eyeing to form a single security body in airports, Honrado assured the public that the government is acting on the alleged scam, which has attracted the attention of international media.
“The government is trying to address the tanim bala as squarely as possible. We ask people to understand that we are limited by existing laws,” he said.

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US news anchor calls out ‘laglag bala’ scam

 

There is a video

 

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/130523/us-news-anchor-calls-out-laglag-bala-scam

04:47 PM November 5th, 2015

 

 

Susteren, who is traveling overseas next week, said her Filipino-American friend tipped her off that international travelers were “being targeted by Filipino airport security officials who plant live ammunition in their luggage.”
“This scam is all part of a plot to extort money out of the international traveler,” the anchor said.
She mentioned that 30 cases of ammunition-related incidents have been recorded in the last 12 months while five international passengers have been arrested in the past two weeks.
She said these passengers were “being targeted by Filipino airport security officials who plant live ammunition in their luggage and then busting international travelers for having bullets in his bag. Even holding some passengers for days, telling them they can pay a fine or sit in the slammer facing charges.”
“I know what you’re thinking: what is wrong with some people? My answer? I just don’t know,” Susteren said.
In 2014, the Fox anchor got embroiled in an issue after she slammed the Thailand government for sitting on radar information regarding the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 where she was described by the The Bangkok Post as “rude and crude.”
Susteren was hailed as among the Forbes 100 most powerful women in 2015. JE

 

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Either way they're fixing the issue. Why would people feel upset? That's good news.

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Either way they're fixing the issue. Why would people feel upset? That's good news.

 

Me thinks you've missed the entire point!

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Escalation of bullet-planting cases baffles NBI

 

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737357/escalation-of-bullet-planting-cases-baffles-nbi

12:39 AM November 6th, 2015

 

 

An apparent escalation of incidents involving airline passengers found to be carrying ammunition in spite of a widely publicized uproar over the alleged “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) extortion scam has baffled agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.
There could be reasons other than extortion behind the scheme that had victimized mostly vulnerable elderly travelers and overseas Filipino workers at the four terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), said Manny Eduarte, chief of the NBI antiorganized crime division.
“The numbers are a fact, but we will look into the possibility that the syndicate operating inside the airport is also being used for another purpose,” said Eduarte, head of a special task force created by Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguiao to look into the scam.

Eduarte said travelers who had been victimized by the tanim-bala scam could file their complaints in various Philippine embassies abroad.
He said sworn statements executed in the embassies could be forwarded to the NBI for action.
Only two alleged victims of the scam had filed a complaint that the NBI was looking into, Eduarte said. Most of the other victims had left the country. Complaints filed before the travelers left were being looked into, he said.
“We want to assure the public that an investigation is underway and we intend to uncover all the members of the syndicate even after the 15-day period,’’ Eduarte said, referring to the deadline given by the justice secretary for the NBI to submit its report on its inquiry.
He explained that the high occurrence of the incidents in recent days was being looked into. “The number is real, but the frequency and the sudden escalation will also be investigated,’’ Eduarte said.
Initial investigations indicated that a well-organized group involving personnel of various state agencies operating at  Naia is behind the extortion scheme, an NBI source told the Inquirer earlier.
According to the source, some porters identify potential victims and accomplices in the security and immigration services take over inside the four Naia terminals.
The activities of the syndicate came to light last month when Gloria Ortinez, 56, a domestic helper in Hong Kong for 26 years, was arrested, detained and charged with carrying bullets in her luggage, despite her tearful denials. Her plight was caught by TV news cameras and went viral on social media.
The source said that based on the records furnished by airport officials, close to 100 rounds of ammunition of various calibers had been seized from travelers since last January.
At least two alleged victims of tanim-bala have sought the help of the NBI: American missionary Lane Michael White and Maria Paz Triaz.
Lane, who was detained after arriving from the United States, was charged with illegal possession of ammunition but was freed on bail. Triaz was allowed to leave for Singapore after signing a waiver stating that bullet found in her bag was an amulet.

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Lowly airport workers reap bitter fruits of ‘tanim-bala’ scam

 

 

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737359/lowly-airport-workers-reap-bitter-fruits-of-tanim-bala-scam

12:47 AM November 6th, 2015

 

 

Workers holding lowly jobs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) have been reaping the bitter fruits of the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scheme that victims suspect was an extortion scheme of unscrupulous airport personnel.
Maintenance workers, porters and security guards at Naia reported being subjected to suspicious glances, cruel jokes and sharp words by an unforgiving public, with two death threats becoming the latest aggravation phoned in at the airport.
The first death threat was received by the Airport Police Department (APD) office at Naia Terminal 3 around 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

According to the APD, an unidentified male caller said, “I will plant bullets in the head of [Manila International Airport Authority or MIAA] officials. You have to fix the extortion [in your office]. One among you will fall. If I hear of another tanim-bala victim, one of you will fall. There will be no warning.”
The second threat came a little past noon on Wednesday, from a man who claimed to be an overseas worker in Saudi Arabia. It was received by the MIAA, and coincided with the press conference called by transportation and aviation security officials.
Tracing the threats
The caller expressed outrage over the tanim-bala scheme and said, “We will blow your heads off.”
Although the death threats were not directed at any particular person, David de Castro, spokesperson for MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, said they “will not be taken lightly especially in a place of public convergence such as the airport.”
“We are currently tracing the calls and investigating the threats received,” he added.
The phone calls were the latest backlash that airport workers have received amid public outrage and paranoia over the tanim-bala scam. Airport workers reported being the butt of jokes, insults and harsh words from suspicious passengers over the controversy.
One janitor assigned at the Terminal 1 arrival area restroom recalled being asked by a passenger to mind his luggage while he relieved himself last Tuesday.
“When he came back for his luggage, he looked at me from head to toe and asked, ‘You didn’t put any bullet in there, did you?’ I told him I wouldn’t do that and just walked away,” the janitor said.
Distrust
Since then, he has declined any request for him to mind the luggage of passengers while they use the restroom. “I just tell them it might be better if they took their luggage with them.”
A cleaning woman previously awarded for her honesty, said she was saddened by how people have been treating them after the tanim-bala scheme surfaced. “They look at us with distrust and say hurtful things. [but] we are just doing our jobs. We are not doing anything wrong.”
She said she had noticed how passengers now squeeze in their luggage inside restroom cubicles when they use them. “I find it silly but I just allow them to do it, if it puts their mind at ease. But their side comments directed at us about tanim-bala are unnecessary and uncalled for,” she added.
The woman also recounted how one security guard helped a male passenger with his luggage although it was really not his job. “He just helped out because the man’s pile of luggage was spilling off his cart,” she said.
But instead of a thank you, the passenger looked at the security guard and remarked, “I hope you didn’t put anything on me,” the maintenance worker added.

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My wife wonders why I dislike the Philippines, 

 

I showed her these articles and her response was along these lines,

 

I was talking to my family last night and they know nothing about it

so it must not be true.

 

Now I love my wife dearly, But it is this head in sand attitude that really

gets on my goat :(

 

So many live in a world of denial :(

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Nangulo

Greta Van Susteren talks about NAIA bullet scam on Fox News

 

https://www.facebook.com/gretawire/videos/1197722950242563/?fref=nf

 

Two days in a row.  I heard her about an hour ago but she was mistaken, today.  She said the scam involves arresting individuals with bullets and then extorting money from them.  Her mistake is that the extortion attempt is made before an arrest.  If the victim is arrested, the scammers don't get their money.

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Monsoon

 

 

 If the victim is arrested, the scammers don't get their money.

 

No, someone higher up gets more money.

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Anyway, you look at it, this is a big black eye for the Phils.  At a time when the Phils is spending a lot of money promoting tourism, it makes the government seem even more stupid and corrupt.

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‘Bala’ fear grips VisMin airports

 

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737607/bala-fear-grips-vismin-airports

12:52 AM November 7th, 2015

 

 

The fear of falling prey to extortion or being accused of it has made luggage sealed on the outside with packaging tape and airport personnel keeping a distance from bags passing through X-ray machines familiar sights in airports in the Visayas and Mindanao.
At the airport in Tagbilaran City, passenger Cynthia Velasquez is one of the hundreds who have made an extra effort to make sure they don’t become victims of the so-called “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) syndicate that reports said was having a heyday at Ninoy Aquino International Airport but may also be present in airports outside Metro Manila.
“This is 100 percent safe,” said Velasquez, 52, gesturing toward her luggage, visibly secured by packaging tape on the outside.

“They are indiscriminate in choosing their victims,” said Velasquez, referring to the tanim-bala extortion ring. “Better safe than sorry,” she said.
The fear lingers even as the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) at Tagbilaran Airport issued a statement seeking to assure passengers that measures are being taken to keep the airport tanim-bala-free.
Maria Glendale Ramos, intelligence officer of the Civil Aviation Security Bureau in Tagbilaran, said screening officers are being checked before they are allowed to enter the airport.
“Our screeners undergo a pat down and secondary screening to make sure they don’t bring anything (into the airport),” said Ramos.
“No touch”
A “no touch” policy is in force at Tagbilaran Airport which bars security officers checking luggage from touching passengers’ bags.
The policy allows screening officers to touch passengers’ bags only if passengers request for help to load their bags onto X-ray machines.
Ramos said if anything suspicious appears on the X-ray machine, police and a witness would be called and the passenger would be the one to open his or her bag for checking.
If a bullet, or any banned substance, is found, a police officer would conduct an investigation and determine probable cause to file a case.
Ramos insisted, though, that there is no tanim-bala racket at Tagbilaran Airport, although some passengers had been caught carrying bullets.
“Many people believe that a bullet can be an amulet, that it has power to protect its owner from danger or harm,” she said.
She recalled a case in 2012 when a passenger was arrested for carrying bullets. Seven cartridges of live ammunition were found in the passenger’s bag and the passenger had been arrested and charged.
Police tips
In Davao City, the PNP-Avsegroup started distributing leaflets to passengers at Davao International Airport, listing tips on how to avoid falling victim to the tanim-bala racket.
Chief Insp. Eugene Balugo, head of the Aviation Security Unit (ASU) in Southern Mindanao, said the effort was part of police’s contribution to help ease the fear of airline passengers.
The leaflet advises passengers to be “vigilant as air travel security is everybody’s concern.”
The five tips that it gave on avoiding the tanim-bala racket were: keep a close eye on luggage and never allow strangers to handle these; close all zippers, pockets of luggage and seal these; keep an eye on the luggage as it passes through X-ray machines and metal detectors; quickly retrieve bags in the X-ray machines; and never accept luggage from strangers.
In October, Davao City had its first case of a passenger yielding a live bullet at the city airport.
Augusto Dorde, 60, of Quezon City, was flying out of the city after checking a water supply project when an X-ray check showed what looked like a bullet inside his bag. When it was opened, two bullets were found.
Dorde vehemently denied owning the bullets. He was, however, charged and was freed on bail.
Balugo said upon questioning, Dorde expressed surprise at how the bullets got into his bag. Dorde, according to Balugo, surmised that the bullets may have been planted in his bag not at the city airport.
Balugo said his office continues to investigate 44 members of the ASU here and security screening officers and porters.
“But personally I can vouch for my men here and the staff. The airport can be a small place and everyone knows each other,” said Balugo.
On Monday, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte asked President Aquino to take drastic action to put a stop to the tanim-bala racket.
Duterte had offered to serve as a lawyer to victims of tanim-bala.
“Mr. President, you have to cross the red light, you should do something drastic, your lip service is not enough,” said Duterte.
He said he was worried that the racket might victimize more passengers bound for Hong Kong or Singapore from the city airport, and bring the victims to deeper trouble in those countries.
“What would be more tragic is if the one who will be victimized comes from the provinces, doing connecting flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, America,” Duterte said.
“In this case, innocent Filipinos will directly land in other countries’ prisons,” he said.
“This is not just a matter of extortion, this will threaten the lives and freedom of ordinary Filipinos,” said the mayor.
He said he found it impossible for the tanim-bala racket to prosper without the connivance of police and other authorities.
“I cannot express my anger, I can only commiserate with the innocent victims,” said Duterte.
He said if Mr. Aquino failed to stop the racket, “I will lose trust in you.”
The President’s anointed presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, shifted gears on the issue.
On Thursday in Ligao City in Albay, Roxas called on authorities to put a stop to the racket and bring to justice those involved in it.
Roxas’ call for an investigation was a shift from his earlier statement when he declined to give a clear answer when asked who should take responsibility for the damage caused by reports about the racket.
“Bullets are contraband everywhere in the world, especially in the time of antiterrorism, especially live ones,” Roxas told reporters during a sortie in Cauayan, Isabela province, early this week.
But on Thursday, Roxas said in an interview here that the investigation should be done immediately to determine whether indeed, a syndicate is behind the bullet-planting cases.
He said the investigation should also determine if there are government officials involved.
“If there are people in government involved in this, they should be removed from service and face criminal charges,” said the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.
Roxas, however, continued to defend Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya amid demands for Abaya’s ouster.
“The DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) is doing what it can,” said Roxas. Leo Udtohan, Inquirer Visayas; Dennis Jay Santos and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao; and Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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contraman

 

The fear of falling prey to extortion or being accused of it has made luggage sealed on the outside with packaging tape and airport personnel keeping a distance from bags passing through X-ray machines familiar sights in airports in the Visayas and Mindanao.

 

At the airport in Tagbilaran City, passenger Cynthia Velasquez is one of the hundreds who have made an extra effort to make sure they don’t become victims of the so-called “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) syndicate that reports said was having a heyday at Ninoy Aquino International Airport but may also be present in airports outside Metro Manila.

 

“This is 100 percent safe,” said Velasquez, 52, gesturing toward her luggage, visibly secured by packaging tape on the outside.

 

“They are indiscriminate in choosing their victims,” said Velasquez, referring to the tanim-bala extortion ring. “Better safe than sorry,” she said.

 

The fear lingers even as the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) at Tagbilaran Airport issued a statement seeking to assure passengers that measures are being taken to keep the airport tanim-bala-free.

 

Maria Glendale Ramos, intelligence officer of the Civil Aviation Security Bureau in Tagbilaran, said screening officers are being checked before they are allowed to enter the airport.

“Our screeners undergo a pat down and secondary screening to make sure they don’t bring anything (into the airport),” said Ramos.

 

“No touch”

A “no touch” policy is in force at Tagbilaran Airport which bars security officers checking luggage from touching passengers’ bags.

The policy allows screening officers to touch passengers’ bags only if passengers request for help to load their bags onto X-ray machines.

 

Ramos said if anything suspicious appears on the X-ray machine, police and a witness would be called and the passenger would be the one to open his or her bag for checking.

 

If a bullet, or any banned substance, is found, a police officer would conduct an investigation and determine probable cause to file a case.

 

Ramos insisted, though, that there is no tanim-bala racket at Tagbilaran Airport, although some passengers had been caught carrying bullets.

“Many people believe that a bullet can be an amulet, that it has power to protect its owner from danger or harm,” she said.

 

She recalled a case in 2012 when a passenger was arrested for carrying bullets. Seven cartridges of live ammunition were found in the passenger’s bag and the passenger had been arrested and charged.

 

Police tips

In Davao City, the PNP-Avsegroup started distributing leaflets to passengers at Davao International Airport, listing tips on how to avoid falling victim to the tanim-bala racket.

 

Chief Insp. Eugene Balugo, head of the Aviation Security Unit (ASU) in Southern Mindanao, said the effort was part of police’s contribution to help ease the fear of airline passengers.

 

The leaflet advises passengers to be “vigilant as air travel security is everybody’s concern.”

The five tips that it gave on avoiding the tanim-bala racket were: keep a close eye on luggage and never allow strangers to handle these; close all zippers, pockets of luggage and seal these; keep an eye on the luggage as it passes through X-ray machines and metal detectors; quickly retrieve bags in the X-ray machines; and never accept luggage from strangers.

 

In October, Davao City had its first case of a passenger yielding a live bullet at the city airport.

Augusto Dorde, 60, of Quezon City, was flying out of the city after checking a water supply project when an X-ray check showed what looked like a bullet inside his bag. When it was opened, two bullets were found.

 

Dorde vehemently denied owning the bullets. He was, however, charged and was freed on bail.

 

Balugo said upon questioning, Dorde expressed surprise at how the bullets got into his bag. Dorde, according to Balugo, surmised that the bullets may have been planted in his bag not at the city airport.

 

Balugo said his office continues to investigate 44 members of the ASU here and security screening officers and porters.

“But personally I can vouch for my men here and the staff. The airport can be a small place and everyone knows each other,” said Balugo.

On Monday, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte asked President Aquino to take drastic action to put a stop to the tanim-bala racket.

Duterte had offered to serve as a lawyer to victims of tanim-bala.

 

“Mr. President, you have to cross the red light, you should do something drastic, your lip service is not enough,” said Duterte.

He said he was worried that the racket might victimize more passengers bound for Hong Kong or Singapore from the city airport, and bring the victims to deeper trouble in those countries.

 

“What would be more tragic is if the one who will be victimized comes from the provinces, doing connecting flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, America,” Duterte said.

“In this case, innocent Filipinos will directly land in other countries’ prisons,” he said.

“This is not just a matter of extortion, this will threaten the lives and freedom of ordinary Filipinos,” said the mayor.

He said he found it impossible for the tanim-bala racket to prosper without the connivance of police and other authorities.

“I cannot express my anger, I can only commiserate with the innocent victims,” said Duterte.

He said if Mr. Aquino failed to stop the racket, “I will lose trust in you.”

 

The President’s anointed presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, shifted gears on the issue.

 

On Thursday in Ligao City in Albay, Roxas called on authorities to put a stop to the racket and bring to justice those involved in it.

Roxas’ call for an investigation was a shift from his earlier statement when he declined to give a clear answer when asked who should take responsibility for the damage caused by reports about the racket.

 

“Bullets are contraband everywhere in the world, especially in the time of antiterrorism, especially live ones,” Roxas told reporters during a sortie in Cauayan, Isabela province, early this week.

But on Thursday, Roxas said in an interview here that the investigation should be done immediately to determine whether indeed, a syndicate is behind the bullet-planting cases.

 

He said the investigation should also determine if there are government officials involved.

“If there are people in government involved in this, they should be removed from service and face criminal charges,” said the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.

 

Roxas, however, continued to defend Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya amid demands for Abaya’s ouster.

 

“The DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) is doing what it can,” said Roxas.

 

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737607/bala-fear-grips-vismin-airports#ixzz3qkSSSiID 

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This leaves so many questions rather than answers,

On one side there is a bold statement saying that there is NO Scam and the other saying there are New procedures and an Investigation.

 

Me thinks the answer to this has already been given to the investigation team by Ramos

 

This investigation is just a political stunt :idontknow:

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delancey

They seem to love the devensive "we are doing everythng we can to investigate, even though we don't think anyone is doing anything wrong" style here.

 

This is not a country ready for progressiveness.

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