Callous ‘daang matuwid’ gov’t strikes again

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AMID the public outrage over the epidemic of “laglag bala” scam incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Aquino government has once again exposed its callousness to the plight of ordinary Filipinos.

During last Friday’s press briefing, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma urged the traveling public not to be alarmed by the reported “laglag bala” scam incidents at the country’s airports. “We need to put this in the right context. There are thousands using our airports and there are only just a few [passengers who were]found carrying bullets…,” Coloma said.

What Coloma is clearly implying is that we have nothing to worry about because there’s only a slim chance of falling victim to the scam since thousands of travelers go through our airports without incident. Seriously?! What if it was us or our loved ones who fall prey to this “laglag bala” extortionists?

The insensitive response from the Palace’s messaging chief is reminiscent of PNoy’s remarks to a businessman who complained about the deteriorating peace and order situation in Tacloban City after typhoon Yolanda. Complaining about his store being ransacked by looters and being shot at by an armed thief, PNoy retorted: “Eh, buhay ka pa naman, di ba? (But you’re still alive, aren’t you?).”

Malacañang obviously doesn’t give a damn because so far, the victims have merely been a handful of small-time Filipinos and naïve foreigners.

But even one victim is one too many. What about the innocent, working-class Filipino whose life has been turned upside down because some crooked airport staff decided he needed to make some money on the side? It’s well and good if all the victims can afford to post the usual P80,000 bail for illegal possession of ammunition, or hire the services of a private lawyer to defend them in court.

Unfortunately, most of the victims are foreign tourists or overseas Filipino workers who neither have the money or access to good legal help, and who can be easily intimidated, threatened or cajoled into forking over some cash.

The Palace cannot deny that the extortion scam exists. There are the stories by the victims themselves.

More than a month ago, Filipino balikbayan Rhed Austria de Guzman complained about the “laglag bala” scam at the NAIA Terminal 2 in her Facebook post. She said NAIA security allegedly discovered two bullets in the side pocket of her luggage after it went through the X-ray machine. When she denied putting them there, her porter told her to just pay off the NAIA scanners P500. Even though she didn’t do anything wrong, De Guzman coughed up the money so she could get it over with and leave for the US.

We find De Guzman’s story credible. She has no motive to make up such a story especially when she had already arrived in the US and could have easily ignored the incident as a one-off.

There’s also the testimony of Lane Michael White, a 20-year old tourist from Florida, who was locked for five-and-a-half days for allegedly carrying a bullet in his luggage. White, who was traveling with his father, an American pastor, and his Filipina stepmother, to Coron, Palawan, was stopped at the X-ray scanner at NAIA Terminal 4 after a security officer pulled out a .22 caliber bullet from the side pocket of his luggage (the favorite place to drop bullets, it seems).

White denied that the bullet belonged to him and told the security personnel he was not aware of how it got inside his luggage. White says that during their discussion, a male security personnel told him that his problem could be settled for P30,000 but that he refused, insisting he was innocent. So off to jail he went.

We also find White’s extortion claim to be credible. It is highly improbable that a tourist like White would bring one small bullet to a beach destination such as Coron. There is no plausible motive or reason for him to do so.

Perhaps the clearest evidence of the existence of the scam is the case of 56-year old OFW, Gloria Ortinez, who was returning to her work in Hong Kong when she was arrested by airport police after X-ray personnel allegedly found a carbine rifle bullet in her bag. When she was brought to the investigating fiscal, however, NAIA’s airport police presented a different bullet from that allegedly taken from Ortinez’s bag during the X-ray inspection, clearly indicating that the bullet was “planted.” Good thing the alert fiscal smelled the scam and released Ortinez without bail.

Moreover, isn’t it highly suspicious that all those caught in these scam incidents were found to be carrying only one or two bullets? Why would anyone smuggle merely one or two bullets? It simply doesn’t make sense, right?

But to the extortionists in NAIA, one bullet is enough, at least for their purpose. With possession of ammunition, carrying a jail term of 6 to 12 years, be it one or one hundred bullets, most scam victims would rather “settle” than risk prosecution or jail time.

So what has this “daang matuwid” government done to address this thievery in our airports? None, except to say that the cases of bullet-planting are being investigated by authorities. Ang galing-galing!

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12 Comments

  1. Danny Cascolan on

    XBy being vested with Greatest Highest Powers, Resources and Authorities much more than that of individual civilians, By order of Superiority, Its Paramount Responsibility of the Government to Protect the General Public or Individuals especially under proximity of own areas of Jurisdictions.

    Beside seeing to it that there are no civilians out there with intent to destroy Life and Property, It is the Duty and Responsibility of Government to keep Safe ALL to the extent of seeing to it and Checking that Government Agencies, Government Personnel tasked to Protect the Public are not used as the Agents of Harm against the Public or Individuals.

    Dedma.
    Like when Abaya said that the laglag-bala is only .004 incidence.

    Lahat ng bagay pweding maging tuldok for a perspective in a statistical report on paper. Tuldok lang din naman ang isang tao kontra sa laki ng mundo.

    Ang katotohanan ay naruon pa rin. 5,000 passengers victimised by laglag-bala are real lives na naholdap. (1,510 sa report ni Abaya depende sa time frame bracket cguro ang differences ng reports )

    Real like each of our life and person.

    Mga Tuldok nga lang din naman sila mga yellow minions Roxas, Abaya, Honrado, Noynoy at mga crony sindikato nila.

    Pero mas milyon-milyong mga tuldok ang dinadale nilang mamamayan sa pagbibigay ng problema na dapat ay wala.

    LP = LINLANG PILIPINAS

  2. Since we hate this yellow people, let’s kick them in the ass, out you go, we don’t want people who are inept, inefficient, who knows nothing but to steal people’s money, mediocre, deceivers, liars, show off and what have you. Together we say NO VOTE FOR LP in elections 2016- national and local. Eradicate all LP members the mother of corruption. Send Abnoy, Abad boy, Abaya, et al to jail! They deserve it! Shame on them!

  3. ernesto catingub on

    ABNOY is the worst president of the philippines that we had. kung bakit marami pa ring pinoy na naniniwala sa kanya. sana ang wish ko next year na makulong agad si ABNOY at mga KKK niya pagkatapos ng election

  4. Leodegardo Pruna on

    P-Noy and his alter-egos are self-righteous men and women who would not accept any wrong. That is what is wrong with government now. God bless the Philippines.

  5. the spokesperson of the tenant in Malacanang, pag naiipit sa mga tanong, their usual reply: LET’S PUT THIS INTO THE RIGHT CONTEXT THAT THE LINE OF LACIERDA, PAG SI COLOMA, ITAMA NATIN ANG CONTEKSTO NG TANONG O ILAGAY NATIN SA TAMANG KONTEKSTO”. This words are the most abused words coming from the said spokesperson.
    ako presidente pinagsisipa ko na ang mga sa mga balls nila. nadadamay si Mar Roxas nagiging no. 1 tuloy sa ilalim ng tulay.
    Ok din yan pwede itransfer sa Department of Agriculture, mahilig din pala mag tanin, isama head si Lacierda at Coloma

    • Callous, the government strike again, yes not again but always, they did that to MRT Bidding and everywhere, it started during CJ Corona REMEMBER THE BRIBERY to impeach CJ. STRIKE no. 1; EVIDENCE MACHINATION SETS IN PLUNDER CASE FOR CGMA FOR JUST OKAYING THE REQUEST FOR FUNDS TWISTING THE LAW
      STRIKE no. 2; PLUNDER CASES AGAINST ENRILE, JINGGOY AND BONG REVILLA, ALL 3 IN ONE STRIKE no. 3. and many more.
      This government achievement was pond of making many people rich to become more richer not in pesos but in dollar, they are now listed in Forbes Magazine latest Billionaires. Oh my gulay, they are the favored ones, they are into mining, energy, water services, transportation, communication, infrastractures, broadcasting, you name it they are there. The service supposed to go to the BOSSES are diverted to this people.

    • And it makes you wonder how can Coloma go home to his family after all the lies that he is relaying to the people,courtesy of his boss Abnoy..all the lies and then going home to face your children,,,tsk tsk Coloma should run away from this @$$4073 while he still have some pride left in him..

  6. I just wish that one of Coloma’s family members fall prey to this laglag bala syndicate. let’s see how he feels. or maybe even Pnoy’s. Sana nga! Sanang sana nga!!!

    the callousness of this administration is quite pretty obvious. that it doesn’t really give a damn. the following two examples are the best that this administration showed it’s citizens of how callous it is.

    Pnoy on the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda: “eh buhay ka pa naman, di ba? (but you’re still alive, right”?)

    Coloma on his response to the riders of the MRT and the LRT: “I think you should consider other ways of getting to your destinations using other modes of transportation”

    Pnoy on the arrival honors for the fallen SAF 44: “I cannot change my schedule anymore since I already had committed to visiting the car manufacturing plant in laguna”.

    Pnoy on the EDSA traffic: “I felt how heavy the traffic was on EDSA.” seriously? just now? after almost 6 years as president?

    all of these, only in the Philippines, right?

    • hinay hinay Lang mga Kabayan We know that Abnoy and the whole gang are malinis Kasi he doesn’t know all of these happenings in our country.Kasalanan daw lahat Ni GMA or di kaya Si FM.may Utak ba sya…wala…. kaya 6 months Na Lang Sa Munti Na bagsak Yan.

  7. Ronaldo Valdes on

    Dapat itanin ang bala sa utak ng mga yan para magising silang lahat ng kahayupan na gingawa nila sa bayan kong Pilipinas. Nakakahiya .. The only Airport in the whole world where people are scared to enter.Our goverment is full of crap. starting to our leaders puro wlang hiya, KURAKOT AT MAGNANAKAW MULA SA NAMUMUNO HANGANG SA PINAKAMABABANG PULIS (pnp) SA AIRPORT.BAYAN UMALSA KA AT MAGISING SA KADEMONYOHAN NG MGA NAMAMAHALA..

    • I sympathize with you, Sir Ronaldo. Sana huwag na natin iboto ang mga gagong LPs at nang mga Tuwad na Daan kurakots. Big no to Mar Roxas in 2016. Let’s go for Duterte para mawala na ang mga demonyong mga yellow fanatics, drug addicts and smugglers.