• Airport authorities seize firearms from ‘forgetful’ passengers; others never learn


    TWO passengers bound for separate destinations paid the price for their forgetfulness after authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) seized their firearms during a routine inspection of their luggage over the weekend.

    Seized from Silvestre Mendoza Roque, 52, on Saturday was a Caliber .45 Llama Minimax subcompact firearm with 16 rounds of ammunition and two magazines.

    Roque claimed that he forgot to remove the weapon from his bag, according to airport authorities.

    As a result, not only did Roque miss his flight but he was turned over to the PNP-Aviation Security Group and was facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10951 for having an expired firearm license and carrying a weapon without permit to carry (PTC).

    Also on Saturday, Jean Lolita Abad Manipud, 45, was stopped by airport security after six bullets of a Caliber .380 and 27 others from a Caliber .45 were found inside a balikbayan box and matchbox respectively.

    When interrogated by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), Manipud claimed that she inadvertently packed the illegal stuff in her belongings.

    Unlike Roque, however, Manipud was allowed to board her flight to the US for humanitarian considerations but had to leave behind the bullets and guns, which authorities confiscated.

    Others, however, have not forgotten. They simply never learn.

    Aurora Castigo, a well-wisher from Cauayan, Isabela; and Jonathan Zulueta of San Miguel, Tarlac were both stopped at the NAIA Terminal 3 for bringing their “amulets”.

    Castigo was questioned over a 5.56-mm bullet that was found in her wallet. She said that she always carried the bullet as an amulet. And so did Zulueta who carried a Caliber .45 for the same reason.

    Meanwhile, police seized a Caliber M14 bullet on Kalibo-bound Antonio Navarosa, 62, found hanging around his neck. He said that carrying a bullet could weed out evil.

    Mary Chan Caligan Perreras of Magalang, Pampanga also believed that an amulet made of Caliber .38 ammo may remove bad luck. Police found the bullet inside her coin purse.

    Mark Dave Rosqueta of Gamu, Isabela, another well-wisher, told airport police that the Caliber M16 ammo they found inside his backpack was an amulet.

    Ed Monreal, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, has repeatedly appealed to all passengers, well-wishers, send-off parties to avoid bringing in illegal items to the airport. BENJIE L. VERGARA



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