The government has vowed to hold accountable those behind the alleged “laglag bala” or bullet planting scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said an investigation is ongoing to get to the bottom of the incident.
“Sinisiyasat ng OTS ang insidente [An investigation is being conducted by the Office of the Transport Security],” Coloma told reporters.
A Japanese tourist and a Hong Kong-bound domestic helper were the latest victims of the scam.
On Sunday, Kazunobu Sakamoto, 33, of Tokyo, was on his way back to Japan when he was detained by members of the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group after personnel of the OTS claimed that an X-ray of his luggage showed images of bullets for a 9mm pistol.
Gloria Ortinez, 56, an overseas Filipino worker, was barred from leaving for Hong Kong also on Sunday after a bullet was allegedly found in her hand-carried bag.
Sakamoto and Ortinez were arrested and charged at the Pasay City prosecutor’s office with illegal possession of ammunition.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. also deplored the bullet planting scam, saying the modus was meant to extort money from the victims.
“We have heard of similar incidents before on this modus operandi to extort money from hapless victims and we all thought that with the media attention and investigations conducted this won’t happen again. That is why this latest incident is disturbing to say the least,” Marcos said.
The senator sent a member of his legal staff to look into the situation of Ortinez and provide the assistance that she needs.
Marcos called for stricter implementation of security protocols in all airports.
He also warned against the hasty filing of criminal charges when there are indications that the suspect may be a victim of a frame up.
“Because of the allegation against her, Mrs. Ortinez was not able to leave the country and she could lose her job. Worse, she now bears the additional burden of having to defend herself in court and the possibility of spending time in jail. This means she is still on the losing end even if she is eventually cleared of the charges against her,” Marcos said.
“We call our OFWs our modern heroes and this is what they get in return?” he added.
Marcos said he will await the report of his staff to find out if there is a need to call for a Senate investigation on the incident.