Senate panel ends probe on alleged Naia human smuggling
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate blue ribbon committee ended on Monday its discussions and investigation into the supposed human smuggling at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
In concluding the probe, panel chairperson Senator Francis Tolentino urged the Bureau of Investigation (BI) to be “steadfast and consistent” in procedures.
“Bear in mind that what we are doing here is to reform the system. We realized the current flaws, but we enjoin the government agencies here present. We enjoin the [Bureau of] Immigration to be steadfast and be consistent in enforcing immigration policies even in the general aviation area,” said Tolentino.
“Without objection on the part of my colleagues, the investigation concerning human trafficking dated February 13, 2023 at the Naia is hereby terminated and this committee hearing is hereby adjourned,” he went on.
Tolentino then called on the BI to be consistent and equal to all passengers.
“We note your lack of resources, bearing in mind that there should be consistency and equality here,” the senator told BI officials present during the hearing.
Meanwhile, he said the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group should meet with its new commander head to clarify responsibilities.
“I think you should sit down and clarify who has the final say — the police exit clearance or the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) clearance — before a private plane departs,” Tolentino said.
“The designation, the delineation of runway, tarmac, exit ways should be clarified likewise,” he added.
Tolentino also believes that aviation services should be streamlined.
“For the OTS (Office for Transportation Security) and the private aviation services, I think it should be streamlined. I have seen private tarmacs, private offices with their own offices for immigration,” he said.
Last month, Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, delivered a privilege speech on alleged human smuggling, where an aircraft carrying individuals not included in a flight manifest was cleared to depart the country.