ILOILO CITY: A barangay chairman in this city who was found carrying a blank bullet while checking in for a flight to Cebu was allowed to go through by airport authorities here after he claimed he was using it as an amulet for protection.
Aviation officials at Iloilo International airport found the blank a .22-caliber bullet inside the bag of Punong Barangay John Villanueva of Brgy. Boulevard, Molo district when he checked in for a flight last October 25, but explained it was his anting-anting for almost 10 years and believed it saved him from numerous disasters and injuries.
Iloilo airport officials confiscated the bullet but did not hold Villanueva, after City Liga President Reyland Hervias vouched for the integrity of Villanueva and his passion for blank bullet as his savior from harm.
Some 60 barangay chairmen and kagawads in Iloilo city and province were booked in a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Coron, Palawan with transflight in Cebu, for a five-day Visayas Congress of local barangay officials.
The powderless bullet, described as a squib, is a round of ammunition, which has less power than it is supposed to, often having no powder at all.
Iloilo aviation officers are wary and careful in the airport operation and of the current incidents of “tanim bala” involving airport officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. Airport passengers, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), have accused NAIA airport personnel of mulcting them by planting bullets in their luggages.