• Abaya, Honrado sued

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    PLASTIC MAN  A traveler carrying a backpack wrapped in plastic enters the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. A sticker on his bag says, his his backpack is ‘bullet-proof (sic).’ PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    PLASTIC MAN
    A traveler carrying a backpack wrapped in plastic enters the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. A sticker on his bag says, his his backpack is ‘bullet-proof (sic).’ PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    Plastic-wrapped bags bring shame to airport screeners

    An administrative complaint was filed on Tuesday against transport officials, led by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, in connection with an alleged extortion racket involving the slipping of bullets into the bags of passengers checking in for their flights.

    The complaint, which was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Dante Jimenez, president of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), also sought the preventive suspension of the officials involved during pendency of the case.

    Also named respondents to the complaint were Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado; retired commodore Roland Recomono, administrator of the Office of Transport Security (OTS); and Chief Supt. Pablo Francisco Balagtas, director of the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup).

    Meanwhile, at least four airline passengers were apprehended by airport security also on Tuesday after screeners detected bullets in their bags, radio station dzBB reported last night.

    The OTS has confiscated a total of 84 rounds of ammunition from airline passengers from January to October 2015.

    The MIAA and the OTS are attached agencies of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) which Abaya heads while the Avsegroup is an operating unit of the Philippine National Police.

    The OTS is the agency in charge of screening passengers and their belongings while the Avsegroup is primarily in charge of police matters within the airport premises.

    The Avsegroup is distinct from the Airport Police Department, which is under the MIAA.

    Cayetano and the VACC’s petition said the officials must be held administratively liable for gross neglect of duty under Executive Order 226 [EO] or the “Doctrine of Command Responsibility in All Government Offices and Agencies.”

    “The heart of the cause of action of this complaint is the gross inaction of the respondents, even amidst knowledge of the crime or offense of their subordinates or lapses within their jurisdiction,” the complaint read.

    “If our officials cannot solve these issues fast and ensure the safety and well-being of the people they are sworn to protect, then I see no point in making them remain in office. They should be dismissed and removed from their post,” Cayetano said in a press statement.

    The complaint cited that under EO 226 issued in 1995 by then-President Fidel V. Ramos, “any government official or supervisor, or officer of the PNP or any law enforcement agency shall be held accountable for Neglect of Duty under the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ if they have knowledge of an offense… committed by their subordinates… and despite such knowledge, did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during or immediately after its commission.”

    The same EO was cited by former president Ramos in March when he said President Benigno Aquino 3rd and the PNP top brass could be held liable for the Mamasapano incident.

    “This extortion scheme has been going on for years and the respondents named in this complaint have not done anything to address this. Why is this being investigated only now?” Cayetano told reporters.

    “It’s very clear under EO 226 that if a crime is happening, in this case the ‘laglag-bala’ or ‘tanim-bala’ and if the superior knew that such thing was happening and he did not do anything, he has to answer for it. They’ve known this for long time,” he said in Filipino.

    Cayetano together with Senators Grace Poe, Ralph Recto and Miriam Defensor-Santiago have filed separate resolutions asking the Senate to hold a congressional inquiry into the alleged extortion scheme.

    Reacting to the filing of the complaint, Honrado said, “It’s their right.”

    Concrete steps
    Malacañang again assured the public that the government is taking concrete steps in addressing the alleged ‘tanim-bala’ racket.

    Its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the DOTC will make an announcement probably this week of the measures that will be undertaken.

    “[The] DOTC will show the entire picture. We hope the DOTC will be able to convince our countrymen, our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) that measures are being undertaken and it’s not true that we are not doing anything about it,” he added.

    Lacierda said the DOTC is addressing alleged ‘bullet-planting’ incidents based on the data submitted by the MIAA and the OTS.

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd earlier ordered the DOTC to conduct an investigation of the “laglag-bala” extortion scheme.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) wants the truth to come out on the racket.

    “We want the truth to come out whoever is involved in this… whether he is a member of the PNP more so that we will discipline him,” the PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, told reporters.

    Mayor said they will get to the bottom of the issue even as he reiterated an earlier statement by the Avsegroup spokesman that it is impossible for the police to be involved in the racket as they have no participation in the security inspection at the airport.

    “It would be impossible [for the police to put a bullet in a bag. They are outside the X-ray area],” he explained.

    Screeners ‘demoralized’
    Airport security screeners said they are “demoralized” and are “humiliated” with the bashing they have received over the alleged extortion racket.

    “We are demoralized, humiliated and even threatened,” OTS team leader Ceferino de Ocampo said. “In the eyes of the public, we are so bad. Yet, no one wants to stand for us.”

    De Ocampo added that the OTS frontliners have already been judged by the public.

    He appealed to the public to wait for results of the investigation of their colleagues. “We cannot say the 40 employees are guilty, because they are still under investigation.”

    Nanette Ramos, an OTS supervisor, tearfully told GMA News that they lose face each time they see bags tightly wrapped in plastic being checked into their X-ray machines.

    She said she and her colleagues are willing to undergo lie-detector tests and even lifestyle checks to once and for all determine who are into the extortion racket.

    To ease the allegations of bullet-planting, the OTS is implementing a “no touch policy” in four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

    Advice to OFWs
    Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the best way for travelers, particularly OFWs, to avoid getting victimized is for them to always watch their bags and not let anybody touch them.

    “I urge airline passengers, OFWs particularly, to be alert, careful and vigilant with regard to their luggage,” she added.

    “ They should hold on to their luggage, or be very close, never away from them, while these are being checked, and report any suspicious activity or movement of airport personnel handling their luggage.

    “Don’t leave your luggage. Don’t keep them away from your view. Better still, inventory the contents of your luggage before you leave for the airport and keep this inventory with you.

    Show them to the authorities if necessary before they check or screen your luggage,” she added.

    Baldoz expressed disappointment over the incidents, noting that it could sow fear among OFWs, especially those planning to come home for a vacation in the coming holidays.

    OFW advocate Susan “Toots” Ople urged the Office of the President to form a special team from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the so-called “tanim-bala” and other incidents that have caused fear and trauma among Filipino passengers, particularly overseas workers.

    “The act of wrapping all luggage in plastic is already an act of self-defense by our overseas workers and other passengers. This erosion of trust will take time to heal and restore, and it all begins with a comprehensive and thorough investigation spearheaded by trained NBI agents who are not part of the airport security apparatus,” Ople said.

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    82 Comments

    1. Puppey Evangel on

      Tanggalin na yan sa pwesto para matuto, sobra na ang kahiiyang ginagawa nila. pero kung pwede i kulong ipasok na yan sa selda!

    2. agree ako sa gusto ni Sen. Cayetano, dapat panagutin ang mga involved na mga opisyal at staff

    3. dapat jan tanggalin na sa pwesto sila abaya , honrado at palitan na rin ang security ng NAIA.

    4. Dapat deretso sa kulungan kung mapatunyang nagkasala para pagdusahan man lang nila ang nagawa nilang pagkukulang bilang opisyal sa naia.

    5. #NAIA personnels who are responsible of this modus should be stoned to death! Basura sa lipunan! Walang nagawang maganda sa posisyon nila.Salamat kay Alan Cayetano for immediate action.

    6. thelma marie octavio on

      panagutin ang mga yan.pakainin ng bala o kaya itanim yung bala sa mga utak nila para magtino.di pwede sa duterte at cayetano ang mga ganyang style na bulok.

    7. barron antonio on

      sa kanilang kapabayaan dapat silang kasuhan at ikulong, marami n pla ang nabiktima niton laglag bala nato, kahiya hiya ang kanilang ginawa! buti at umaksyon agad si Cayetano, #DC2016

    8. barron antonio on

      sa kanilang kapabayaan dapat silang kasuhan at ikulong, marami n pla ang nabiktima niton laglag bala nato, buti at umaksyon agad si Cayetano,

    9. Marchan lovely sy on

      Nganga kayo no? dapat kasi noon pa nag paimbestiga na kayo, tutal matagal na palang issueng ito eh.

    10. Dapat kasi imbestigahan din sila bukod sa staff and crew. Diba? Kasi ang tagal na netong issue eh, bat di pa solusyunan? Maghihintay pa silang mapansin ng gov’t officials?

    11. Hindi katanggap tanggap na ang mga inosenteng mga OFW ay naaabuso.Walang karapatan ang mga personnels ng NAIA na basta basta nalang halukayin ang mga gamit ng mga OFW lalo na kung walang dahilan. Buti nalang aksyon agad ang ating Superman na si Sen. Allan Cayetano! Siya at si Mayor Duterte ang susugpo sa ganitong mga anomalaya! #DCtandem 2016

    12. Marites Tanoan on

      Good move, sen alan! dapat talaga mawala na yung mga ganitong officials, mga walang pake!

    13. christopher manlangit on

      iisa lang ibig sabihin po nun hindi sila mahigpit sa kanilang tao, na prevent sana ito kung hindi sila nagpabaya,buti to the rescue agad si kuya Alan

    14. pano mo mababantayan ang bagahe mo eh bago ka pumasok ng airport kailangan pang pumasok ka sa OWWA opis sa airport (NAIA) na ayaw papasukin ng guard ang mga bagahe ng OWF sa loob ng opis nila eh nasa labas lang kaya delikado mawala ang bagahe o makuha ng iba o malag yan ng bala ng baril na uso ngayon. Sa pagpasok mo sa opis ng OWWA kung sino sino ang nakakapasok na empleyado ng NAIA kahit walang business don.

    15. Tama lang yang ginawa ni Sen. Alan! Isolated case lang daw yung mga insidente tapos biglang papresscon at nag-iimbestiga na nung magfile ng complaint si Sen. Alan. JOketime lang naman talaga ang tuwid na daan. Wlang nagbago. Marami pa ring kurakot at bulag-bulagan. Tunay na pagbabago ang kaylangan at si Sen. Alan Cayetano ang magdadala non.

    16. pati sarili nating kababayan natatakot na talaga baka mabiktima rin sila ng laglag bala sa naia.

    17. Kudos to Senator Cayetano for being the only politician who stepped up, took charge, and made concrete actions to solve the laglag bala issue.

    18. >>> Simple lang ang dahilan ng pangyayari sa NAIA terminal.

      Kung wala pa o nagkaroon noon sa terminal ang PLASTIC WRAPPING MACHINE, sigurado magkakaroon muli o dadami ang bibili ng franchise at maglalagay nito sa terminal.

      At magiging rules sa terminal o mandatory o uubligahin ang mga departing o parating na passenger na balutin ng plastic ang mga “check-in luggage o baggage nila.

      Kaya kikita ang sinuman may negosyo nito at pati ang mga opisyal ng terminal.

      Kaya ang “laglag bala” o ” tanim-bala” ay isang “modus operation ng isang sindikato na may kaugnayan sa mga pulitiko at may impluwensiya sa administrasyon ng terminal o DOTC o Palasyo.

      Para rin katulad niyan ang mga authorized na taxi sa terminal. Sino o sinu-sino ba ang may pag-aari ng taxi franchise sa terminal..?

    19. OTS team leader said…..
      “We are demoralized, humiliated and even threatened,”
      “In the eyes of the public, we are so bad. Yet, no one wants to stand for us.”
      “the OTS frontliners have already been judged by the public.”

      >>>Mr. Ceferino De Ocampo nahihiya kayo….eh bakit walang bang reputasyon ang mga naging biktima. Tulad ng isang may edad na babae more or less 50 years old at mahigit sa isang dekada na balikbayan,na sa buong mundo naibalita. NAISIP BA NINYO NA POSIBLE BA MAGDALA ITO NG BALA ? AT KUNG MAGDADALA RIN LIVE BULLET ANG ISANG FREQUENT TRAVELLERS O BALIKBAYAN EH SIGURO ISA O DALAWA NG MAGAZINE OF BULLETS AT IKARGA KO NA SA BARIL, AT KUNG MAHULI MAN SIYA AY BARILIN NA ISANG KATULAD NINYO NA WALANG ‘COMMON SENSE” O PRACTICAL ANALYSIS.

      Iyan ang nakakabuwisit sa mga inatasan manungkulan sa taong bayan, kapag sila ang napagdidiskitahan “isang damukal na palusot at daing at sasabihin na mayroon din silang “Rights”. NAKALIMUTAN NA NILA ANG NANGYARI SA MGA BIKTIMA.

    20. Tama naman si Sen. Cayetano. Someone has to be held responsible at sila Honrado at Abaya yon na hindi naman sineryoso ang laglag bala issue. Kumilos lang sila nung kasuhan ni Sen. Alan.

    21. Matagal na ang issue pero dedma lang ang malacanang at airport officials. nasan ang sinasabing matuwid na daan? tunay na pagbabago ang kaylangan at mukhang si sen. alan ang magdadala ng pagbabago.

    22. dapat po jan makulong na po yan laglag bala na yan, malaking kahihiyan na po ang ginawa nila sa bansa

    23. Kawawa naman yung mga ofw. Sila yung tinuturing na bayani pero sila pa ang binibiktima at ginigipit. palabas sa tv ngayon yung presscon nila abaya. si sen. alan lang ang matapang na nagkaso kina abaya kaya biglang papresscon sila.

    24. Buti pa si sen. alan nagmamalasakit sa bansa natin samantala ung mga namumuno sa NAIA parang wala lang, gumisng naman kayo, resolbahan niyo na yan wag niyo ng hintayin pa na lumalala.

    25. Garapalan na talaga ang kagaguhan ng mga taga-airport na yan! Salamat kay Cayetano sa mabilis na aksyon at matapang na solusyon laban sa mga tanim bala scam.

    26. The incompetence of MIAA and NAIA officials is extremely disappointing. Thanks to the lawmakers who actually did something about the issue. Special thanks to Sen. Cayetano for filing complaint against these airport officials. Salamat Sen. Alan sa mabilis na aksyon at matapang na solusyon.

    27. we can do a protest of our own by expressing a NO vote for Mar and Leni. If they see their survey stats drop, i’m sure an instant solution will follow.

    28. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      Investigation? Common. We heard a lot of investigations already but happened?
      Only whitewash. What happened to the investigation regarding Torres who was trying to intercede for the sugar at customs? What happened to the investigation about the
      DAP and PDAP that no less than the Supreme Court declared us unconstitutional?
      NADA. When it comes to members of the KKK or the YELLOW CULT or cronies
      of the administration, it will always end in whitewash. What happened also to plunders
      lodged against Binay? Puro investigation kono. WALA RIN MANGYARI BASTA
      KAALYANSA NI ABNOY.

    29. Check the finger print on the bullet. If its not match with victim finger print than its not belong to the victim. its so simple to know whether its planted or not.

    30. nakakaiyak…nakakabuwiset..kelan tayo magbabago? tayo tayo lang ang sumisira sa sarili nating bayan..nakikinita ko na ang mangyayari kung sakaling tangkain tayong sakupin ng china…lahat ng pulitiko magtatago sa ibang bansa..tayong mga karaniwang mamayan..mag aantay na lang ng kamatayan..pero ako…lalaban ako..hanggang kamatayan..para sa PILIPINAS !!!!!

    31. nadadamay na mga inosente at matitinong empleyado dahil sa mga kalokohan ng mga kupal na tauhan sa NAIA. Buti nalang ay nandyan si Senator Allan Cayetano! #TeamDuterte-Cayetano2016

    32. It seems that bullets only seem to appear in the luggage of travellers at Manila International Airport, and not at any other Asian airport such as Bangkok, Singapore, Phuket, Bali, Malaysia. ECT ECT This raises serious questions as to what is happening at Manila International Airport – – This matter needs to be stopped in its tracks ASAP. as not only doe it tarnish the reputation of the country and that of Airport Administration, but will also deter tourist money from flowing into the country. A breakdown in Airport Screening can lead to “lawlessness” which will inevitable impact on the good people of the Philippines. Please put an immediate end to this very serious problem, as the world media is now a-buzz in print

    33. Vic Penetrante on

      The President’s appointments pass through the Commission on Appointments. How do we test for competency and incompetency?

    34. Another suggestion to travelers…use the international symbol for radiation hazard on your traveling bags, etc.

    35. The whole thing is stupid. What do they think people can accomplish with a bullet? Attach it to a twig and puncture the windpipe of their targets? Unless these are special bullets which make them, well, special. So that old woman must have had a gun stashed somewhere in Singapore (assuming she needs it all)? Now they complain why nobody wants to stand up for them.

    36. Change personnel, infrastructure and system upgrades yan ang kailangan sa NAIA. Salamat kay Sen. Cayetano sa mabilisan aksyon!

    37. Nararapat lang na merong makasuhan na at managot sa laglag bala modus na to sa NAIA. Palapit na ang pasko baka mas marami pang mabiktima ang mga kumag na to.

    38. This shows how FIlipinos weren’t really contented of what they are receiving from their jobs that’s why they have to do such thing. Hope this tanim-bala gang comes to an end.

    39. The main problem is any person appointed can be remove anytime if he or she cannot do the job. Let us look at Abaya, look what mess he created in LTO changing all car plates without approval of Congress. Look what mess is created in MRT and LRT, imagine this is mass transport with daily failures and lack of carriage to carry thousands of poor Pilipinos. Look what happen in laglag bala in our airports. Abaya must must be remove. He is the source of the problem but since he and pinoy are buddies, Abaya is still there.

    40. When trust and confidence given in silver plater to people favored by Malacanang that’s where abuse of authority and corruption starts.

    41. Paonti onti na itong nareresolbahan, dahil kay sir alan cayetano, salamat po’t magkakaroon na ng hustisya ang mga biktima nitong karumaldumal na gawain. Pero sana mahanap talaga kung sino mekagagawan neto.

    42. Further investigation ang kailangan, pati mga staffs and crews ay dapat din imbestigahan, kasi sila lang naman kasi ang may karapatan na gumalaw ng mga bagehe ng mga sasakay eh. Salamat kay Alan Cayetano kasi unti unti niyang sinosolusyunan ang ganitong problema, saludo po kami saiyo

      • Cayetano should have run as a president not vice president. He can change this corrupt dirty violent nation. This place is the home of drive by assassins, corrupt military, politicians like Enrile that is getting away with anything because fellow senators are scared with the old martial law framer. Try walking in quiapo, sta Cruz , see how many pickpocket criminals are lurking in the streets.

    43. panagutin po agad dapat ang my sala, dapat my mabilis na investigation ukol dito, Cayetano isa ka pong mabuting ehemplo, maraming salamat sa mabilis na pag aksyon

    44. Simula pa pala ng January ng mangyari ito. Bakit ngayong malapit na ang halalan lamang napansin yata ito ng mga kakandidatong politico… Nililinlang ninyo na naman kami para iboto naming kayo….

      Pero salamat na rin…. hopefully tuluy-tuloy ang pagkilos ninyo para malutas ito….

      O baka dahil na-diyaryo na kayo na “tagapagtanggol” naming… at nagpakitang gilas na kayo ay hahanap naman kayo ng ibang isyu para ma-diyaryo ulit kayo???

      Nagtatanong lang!

    45. My wife is a Filipina, this saddens me I have a trip planned to visit her.. It has been 1 year and 7 months since i have seen her.. Been working to create a better life for us.. Now I have to entertain the thought of canceling this trip.. It will actually destroy her mentally she is so looking forward to my visit.. I can only hope thing will be better by the time I’m suppose to leave for Manila..

    46. tanggalin na sa serbisyo ang mga tiwaling opisyal na mga yan.salamat Sen. Cayetano sa pag aksyon at bigay pansin sa problemang ito.

    47. grbe na ang aberya na idinulot nayan! trauma sa tao, takot sa pag uwi/alis nang bansa, nakakdismaya lang kung isipin! salamat Sen.Alan!

    48. We should support the cases lodged against Abaya and Honrado. One issue however which I doubt is the purpose of Alan Cayetano to joing the filing of the cases. Alan Peter Cayetano is doing another hypocritical act by also filing the case against the 2 which is suspicious. Alan is only trying to be in the news because he is running for office but after all is said and done, he will be the first person to jump ship and support the winner or the elected. Alan is one of the reasons our political system is so damaged because of being tradpols. Very shameless man.

    49. bat pa kasi kelangan nang ganyan! tapusin na dapat tapusin! para mwala na ang takot nang mamamayan natin!isipin nyu naman mga kababayan natin!

    50. bat pa kasi kelangan nang ganyan! tapusin na dapat tapusin! para mwala na ang takot nang mamamayan natin!

    51. Am glad Ms. Ople had a better solution to dig deeper in the present ” scam” at the airport by recommending the trained NBI to investigate the matter. It’s so pathetic for Malacanang to simply say they’re tasking their own department and the government airport group agencies to investigate and to do their “takipan” syndrome disease.

    52. Harrasment na ang tawag dyan, nakakalungkot isipin na yung mga kapatid nating mga OFW nararanasan yung mga ganitong di kanais nais na mga policies. Mga abusadong tauhan ng NAIA makonsensya naman kayo! Hindi kayo titigilan ni Sen. Allan Cayetano! #DCTandem2016

    53. bruno belarmino on

      bilib talaga ako ky Sir Cayetano walang kinakatakutan, mabilis pa umaksyon, hindi katulad ng iba puro salita walang magawa

    54. Sira na talaga ang image Kong Meron man sa mga airport personel ng lagay bala international airport at ng Daang Matuwad na ito…..

    55. barron antonio on

      sige po kuya Alan panagutin nyo po ang mga sangkot dito, ikaw lang talaga ang aming maasahan salamat po sainyong agarang aksyon.

    56. Kailangan natin ng matapang na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon sa ganitong mga bagay, Sana naman mapabilis ang imbestigasyon ukol dito kasi may mga nadadamay na mga inosente at matitinong empleyado dahil sa mga kalokohan ng mga kupal na tauhan sa NAIA. Buti nalang ay nandyan si Senator Allan Cayetano! #TeamDuterte-Cayetano2016

    57. sana matigil na agad yan bago pa dumami ang mabiktima. nakakahiya na talaga. agree ako sa gusto ni Sen. Cayetano, dapat panagutin ang mga involved na mga opisyal at staff

    58. magpapasko na kaya laganap na naman ang modus ng mga bulok na opisyal dyan sa naia. buti nalang nakasuhan na kayo ni sen. cayetano. dapat sainyo masibak na sa pwesto. salamat sen. cayetano sa agarang solusyon dito. wag po sana kayo tumigil hanggat di nananagot mga tiwaling iyan