MANILA — Malacañang on Saturday said it is upset over the so-called ‘tanim-bala’ or bullet-planting scam happening inside Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals recently and this concern has already reached President Benigno S. Aquino III.
In a radio interview, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said both President Aquino and Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya have instructed airport authorities to investigate the incident.
“Nakakalungkot po na nangyayari ito. In fact, to be perfectly honest with you, we have raised it with Secretary Jun Abaya and the President and that’s why may instructions po galing kay Pangulong Aquino at kay Secretary Jun Abaya na tingnan nang maayos itong nangyayari dito sa ‘tanim-bala’ na ito,” Lacierda told Radyo ng Bayan.
According to Secretary Abaya, additional closed circuit televisions (CCTV) were already placed inside the premises to better monitor the situation, Lacierda said. He also reminded the public to always be mindful of their suitcases.
“We should make sure that we pack our belongings doon po sa luggage para klarong-klaro wala hong makapagsasabi na tayo mismo ang naglagay (ng bala) para we rule out any evidence na… We rule out any proof na talagang ang may kagagawan po ‘yung pasahero,” Lacierda said.
Perpetrators of this ‘tanim-bala’ scam reportedly work by extracting a bullet or two, which they themselves planted, from a passenger’s luggage and then subject him to various intimidations thus forcing him to pay his way out of trouble.
“Let’s make sure that talagang tayo lang po, wala po ‘yung mga inihahabilin; kung (may) inihahabilin, inspeksyunin po ninyo kung ano ‘yon para we rule out na talagang… We rule out na hindi tayo ang naglagay, ang pasahero ang hindi gumawa niyan. We should rule that out clearly,” Lacierda stressed.
A syndicate working inside NAIA is allegedly behind this scam and Lacierda said they are going to take a hard look at this claim. “Kung talagang may sindikato diyan, titingnan po ng ating kalihim na si Secretary Jun Abaya,” he said.
Lacierda also said he understood why some passengers are apparently getting paranoid over this incident but he assured them that authorities are already working to address the situation.
“We’re looking at the process. We’re looking at how it happened. We’re looking at the personnel involved. We want to assure the public that… We want to take away that fear from them. We will ensure the safety of each and every passenger who uses our terminals po. So we are taking a hard look at that,” he said.
Lacierda further stated that he would inform Secretary Abaya and Manila International Airport Authority Jose Angel Honrado of other concerns such as the reported cartel of taxis outside the airports and the one involving foreigners caught sneaking illegal drugs. Philippine News Agency