Citizen complaints, not Apec, prompt action on ‘tanim-bala’–Palace
Malacañang Palace on Wednesday said complaints from citizens and not the arrival of world leaders in the country for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit prompted the government to act on the alleged “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scam victimizing passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
“The government action on the bullet situation or the incidents regarding loose ammunition in the airport is a reaction not because we’re having visitors but because we have citizens who have complained of being victims of alleged extortionists. So that alone, in itself, is enough for government to move and to warrant government action,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters in a press briefing.
Valte said certain procedures should be adjusted to make sure that every passenger, not just Apec delegates, would not be subjected to the alleged extortion scheme supposedly being carried out by transport security officials.
“The concern is not because they are Apec delegates but for every person who passes through that airport. So those procedures should be tweaked, fixed, improved so a single person will not have to be subjected to extortion or to an unfair accusation,” she said.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Wednesday held a press conference amid growing public outcry over allegations on the tanim-bala racket, saying such accusations were grave ones which deserved government investigation.
The Department of Justice also formed a National Bureau of Investigation task force to probe the alleged bullet-planting incidents at Naia.
“Ngayon, inilatag na ng DOTC at ng Miaa (Manila International Airport Authority) at ng OTS (Office of Transport Security), ng PNP-AVSEC (Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group) ’yung kanilang mga gagawin dahil doon sa kanilang mga nakita sa kanilang mga imbestigasyon, at inaasahan nating ma-a-address ‘yung sitwasyon,” Valte said.
Valte also called the internal memo released by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security advising its staff against the Naia scam as an “unfortunate development.”
“That’s an unfortunate development and we hope that, moving forward, with the new measures that will be implemented, there will be no need for such advisories in the future,” she said.
Nevertheless, Valte assured the public that President Benigno Aquino III was on top of the “tanim-bala” situation, noting that “the government must move regardless of the statistics.” Yuji Vincent Gonzales/RC
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