THREE women, including a septuagenarian, were held for questioning after authorities at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 detected bullets inside her bag, airport police said on Monday.
Chief Supt. Pablo Francisco Balagtas, director of the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group, identified the suspected violators of the firearms law as 71-year-old Antonina Agustin of Nueva Ecija and Edna Sanchez, 35.
Agustin was passing through security at the Terminal 3 arrival area when Office of Transportation Security personnel manning the X-ray machine informed her about the bullets.
Agustin, who went to the terminal to fetch a relative returning from Dubai, said the bullets were meant as talisman to protect her from witchcraft.
Sanchez, meanwhile, who was to board a flight for Bacolod City said she forgot to clear her belongings before going to the airport. A .45 caliber bullet was found in her baby carrier.
On Saturday night, a Vietnamese woman, My Nguyen, was also apprehended at Terminal 3 because of a bullet she believe would bring luck to her business. She said the bullet was given to her by a customer as a good luck charm for her garments business.
Drop case vs OFW
Susan “Toots” Ople has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withdraw its case of illegal possession of ammunition against 56-year-old Gloria Ortinez so that she can resume her life as a household service worker in Hong Kong.
Ople, who heads the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, announced that the beleaguered OFW is scheduled to leave for Hong Kong for the first time since her tanim-bala ordeal last Oct. 25 to appeal directly to her foreign employer.
“Nanay Gloria is very scared to set foot in our airport. But she has no choice because if she stays here longer, the employer who is a single mom might also change her mind about accepting her back,” she said.
Ople, a common candidate for senator of Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and the United Nationalist Alliance, noted that any further delays on the legal aspects of Ortinez’s case could lead to a permanent loss of livelihood for her and her family.
“It’s APEC week next week so that’s another week lost. That’s why we thought of bringing Nanay Gloria to Hong Kong this weekend so she can speak and appeal to her employer directly. Regaining her job is a vital step toward her recovery from the trauma caused by the tanim-bala syndicate,” she said.
Human Rights Commissioner Gwen Pimentel-Gana vowed to take up with fellow commissioners Ortinez’s request for a review of procedures to determine whether her rights were violated.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also on Monday refused to give any update on the probe being conducted on the alleged bullet-planting scam.
“We will give you updates maybe next week,” Deputy Director Edward Villarta said.
Villarta, however, added that the investigation covers all airports in the country, not just the NAIA.
A seven-man NBI team task force is investigating the controversy.