PNP probes 4 NAIA security personnel for foreign currency black market
THE Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) is investigating the alleged involvement of four Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) security personnel in the foreign currency exchange black market.
Chief Supt. Pablo Francisco Balagtas, the Avsegroup director, said that they have been looking into the alleged “moneychanging-on-the-side” racket of two PNP personnel and two airport policemen.
Balagtas told reporters: “We are conducting an investigation on the veracity of the report. They have already been relieved and disarmed.”
“I have requested General (Vicente) Guerzon for a review of the CCTV footage showing their alleged activities,” he said, referring to Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) assistant general manager for security and emergency services.
“We have to get a basis for filing a complaint. If there is prima facie evidence or if they were caught in the act. We have to prove that they are involved in such an illegal transaction before filing a (criminal) charge against them,” the Avsegroup director pointed out.
Balagtas added, “If the allegation (against them) is confirmed, they have to face the consequences and if not, they have to be reinstated.”
He said two PNP personnel were previously relieved for getting involved in a similar illegal activity.
A source requesting anonymity for lack of authority to speak in the matter said that the four security personnel have long been involved in moneychanging activities before they were caught last week.
“They usually stayed at the arrival area lobby with a clutch bag or a belt-bag and waited for overseas workers who might not have any Philippine currency with them and needed pesos to get home,” he pointed out.
The source said that the illegal moneychangers had “pointers” who tipped off overseas workers on where they could convert foreign currency into Philippine pesos. He explained that the four NAIA security personnel headed off travellers who needed pesos before they could get to the bank outlets and legitimate moneychanging kiosks at the arrival area lobby.
“When we caught them their clutchbags were filled with money both Philippine and foreign currencies. We turned them over to the custody of the PNP-Avsegroup for investigation,” the source said.
He added that the investigation should be able to identify the financier of the four airport security personnel.
Foreign exchange dealers or money changers are required to register with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) before they can operate.
A dealer is required to issue an official receipt and other documents for the sale or purchase of foreign currency and the transaction, according to the BSP, must be conducted at the registered dealer’s place of business or authorized branches.
Under Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act, engaging in foreign exchange activities without registration with the BSP merits a fine of up to P200,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years or both. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.