Santiago: ‘Laglag-bala’ shows how corruption defeats law
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday said the alleged “laglag bala” (also referred to as tanim-bala or planting a bullet) scam that victimizes airline passengers was a reflection of how corruption defeats the rule of law.
Santiago urged her fellow lawmakers to investigate reports that airport personnel are supposedly involved in an extortion scam where passengers are being detained after a bullet was found in their luggage.
“The reports highlight how corruption defeats the purpose of law enforcement. Second, they raise a legitimate question on the implementation of the law on the illegal possession of ammunition. Finally, they underline inaction on the part of government,” Santiago said in a statement.
Santiago has filed Senate Resolution No. 1635 in response to an online petition at change.org launched by an overseas Filipino worker in Hong Kong, urging her and Sen. Grace Poe to probe the bullet-planting incidents.
In her resolution, the feisty senator said the Senate should consider “creating a task force that will investigate alleged illicit activity of state agents, recommend sanctions against those involved, and put in place mechanisms that will deter similar schemes.”
“We in Congress must also ensure that Republic Act No. 10591, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act, is, on the one hand, properly implemented and, on the other, not abused by enforcers of the law,” Santiago said.
“The perpetrators of the alleged scam are brazen, perhaps because they know they will not be punished. We must prove them wrong,” she added.
The lady senator lamented how the scam targets migrant workers who see airports as their “connection to home.”
“Wrongly accusing OFWs of a crime and forcing them to pay huge amounts of cash is not the way to repay those whom we call our modern-day heroes,” she said.
Santiago added that the scam might also affect the job-generating tourism industry by sowing fear among foreigners and putting law enforcers and security personnel in bad light.
The recent victims of “laglag bala” were OFW Gloria Ortinez and Japanese Kazunobu Sakamoto who were both arrested, detained, and charged with carrying bullets in their luggage, similar to previous reported incidents.