‘Tanim-bala’ scam impossible inside airport—Avsegroup
It is basically impossible for any person to plant bullets in the bags of the airline passengers, the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) maintained on Monday.
Supt. Jeanne Panisan, Avsegroup spokesperson, said there is “no possibility” that the “tanim-bala” scam or dropping bullets into the luggage of passengers can be done inside the airport, downplaying speculations that there was a syndicate behind the racket.
“Base po sa investigation na ginagawa natin, wala po talagang posibilidad na pwedeng magtanim ng bala sa mga bagahe ng pasahero natin,” she said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
Panisan explained that the unloading area at the airport and the security scanner have about 5 to 10 meters distance only, leaving no opportunity for suspects to plant bullets in the bags of passengers.
“Ang pwede lang humawak ng bag ay ‘yung pasahero unless nagrequest siya ng porter ng babayaran niya para dalhin ang bag niya… Pano pa natin masasabi na matataniman?” Panisan said.
The racket that had triggered public outrage and drawn the attention of international media reportedly involves airport staff inserting bullets into the bags of passengers and demanding money from them for the dropping of illegal possession of ammunition charges.
While some Filipinos still believe in amulets, she said there were cases up to now that some passengers bring bullets for “good luck charm” and “protection.”
“Especially if you are an overseas Filipino worker, there’s uncertainty in your life. You will draw strength from the amulet,” she said.
Two police officers were recently relieved following the arrest of Gloria Ortinez, a 56-year-old domestic worker in Hong Kong, who was held after the authorities found a bullet in her bag.
The relieved officers were accused of altering the evidence after there were discrepancies seen in the photo of the bullet in a red cloth.
Ortinez was detained for two days even as she denied knowledge of the bullet.
Panisan also cleared policemen who are part of the airport’s security force from being involved in the racket, if there were any, as they are not in charge of the security screening.
“We have no role in the baggage screening and X-ray. Our assistance is only needed whenever there are violations–if a passenger has a bullet, firearm or grenade in his or her luggage,” she said. JE
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