THE niece of the septuagenarian couple who were held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after a bullet was found in their carry-on bag has accused a wheelchair attendant as one of those who demanded P50,000 from her aunt Tuesday.
Fei Balagot, the niece of Esteban and Salvacion Cortabista, 78, and 75 years old, respectively, identified Nino Namba as the wheelchair attendant of Excellent Services who “negotiated” with the elderly couple to shell out cash in exchange for their release.
Balagot recalled that Namba was wearing a company uniform bearing number ‘78.’
The Cortabistas, who were supposed to travel to Los Angeles, California via Korean Air, have accused an officer of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) for planting the bullet in their carry-on bag.
Ferdinand B. Morales of the OTS, assigned at the NAIA terminal 1 final security checkpoint, found a .357 caliber bullet, first reported as .38 caliber bullet, when the couple’s carry-on bag passed the x-ray machine.
According to Police Aviation Security Group director C/Supt. Pablo Francisco Balagtas, Namba was described by Balagot as the porter who allegedly demanded the money after the Cortabistas were held for questioning.
Balagot added that Namba warned the septuagenarian couple that the amount may increase once they were turned over to the Aviation police headquarters.
The couple was later released for further investigation.
Balagtas said police investigators are coordinating with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to secure a copy of the CCTV footage.
Meanwhile, Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta has requested a copy of the 201 file of Namba from the MIAA pass control office for background and character verification.