MANILA, Philippines–An Australian national was caught with almost a hundred 9-mm bullets while a wheelchair-bound Filipino-American yielded a .22 cal. pistol in separate security checks at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on Tuesday.
The Australian, identified as David Andrew Straoud, was scheduled to board Philippine Airlines flight 730 to Bangkok, Thailand, when 99 bullets were found in his backpack during a check through the X-ray machine around 8 a.m. at Naia Terminal 2.
Straoud, a 42-year-old oil drilling engineer married to a Filipino woman, was placed under arrest by the Pasay police for illegal possession of ammunition and violation of the election gun ban.
In an interview, Straoud claimed that the bullets were placed in the bag by mistake and that his wife Vina Vergara had a license for a 9-mm pistol, which he said she acquired for “self-defense.”
About three hours earlier that morning, the bullets went undetected when Straoud flew to Naia from Silay Airport in Bacolod City, where his family is based. “Perhaps, they were still sleepy,” he said as to how security personnel missed the bullets at Silay.
Later in the afternoon, Vergara and her son with Straoud immediately flew to Manila carrying the gun license and other pertinent documents. She was working on his bail amounting totaling P60,000 at press time.
Also on Tuesday, Esmael Bulatao, a Filipino-American and polio sufferer who hails from Canan, Pangasinan province, was caught carrying a .22 cal. revolver and 19 bullets in his bag around 11 a.m. at Naia Terminal 1.
Like Straoud, the Los Angeles-bound Bulatao claimed that the gun and ammunition were “accidentally” placed in his bag.