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‘Tanim-bala’ a dead issue, says acting DOJ secretary

/ 01:14 PM April 26, 2016
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EXTRA PROTECTION Passengers waiting for their flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 go to great lengths to protect their luggage by having these wrapped in plastic to prevent anyone from planting bullets (“tanim-bala”) in their baggage. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The “tanim-bala” or bullet-planting issue at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) could be a ploy against the government in line with the May 9 elections, Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said Tuesday.

“This is another, I think without prejudging [the present case], it seems another unfortunate event na ginagamit lang ito (that they are only using) for media purposes,” Caparas said.

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Caparas said like in the opening of a school year where traffic and crowded malls are expected, there are events expected during elections.

Among the activities in the elections are those that tend to veer away from the election itself that tend to take advantage of election as an event to do things that are for mischief or for unlawful purposes

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Caparas said the bullet-planting issue at the airport is already a “dead issue.”

The airport security have already placed measures and additional protocols to ensure that incidents last year will not happen again.

“If you are talking about people planting bullets, airport security [has] stepped up considerately since the events last year. We have protocols already in place to protect the public from instances like this,” Caparas said.

“If I may say this one more time, itong tanim-bala na ito, maraming lumalabas na kung anu-ano harassment, extortion, wag na po sana nating palakihin ito (this tanim-bala issue, there are things coming out like harassment, extortion, let’s not turn this into a big deal)…Let us not suspect other people of wrongdoing if we do not have firm information about that. It is not fair to our authorities. Marami na pong nagawang magandang trabaho ang ating airport at police authorities (Our airport and police authorities have already accomplished a great deal),” Caparas said.

The public, he said has been given enough warnings not to bring contraband items inside the airport.

“I know that the people have already been warned  not to bring bullets to the airport when you are leaving or even when you are arriving and I would like to think that we are more responsible than trying to tempt fate or try to bring and smuggle bullets this way. Pag nahuli po tayo wala tayong magagawa jan (If you get caught, there’s nothing we can do about it),” he said.

Airport personnel have been slapped with criminal complaints at the Department of Justice (DOJ) while Lane Michael White, the US missionary caught with live ammunition in his baggage has been absolved.

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READ: Pasay court junks criminal raps vs. US missionary ‘tanim bala’ victim

After several cases against bullet-planting had been dismissed, the incidents at the airport have stopped for months.

Then, last week, senior couple Esteban Cortabista, 78 and his wife Salvacion 75 were caught with a live .38-caliber bullet in one of their bags at the departure area of Terminal 1. They were barred from boarding Korean Airlines flight KE 622 bound for Los Angeles via Seoul, South Korea.

READ: ‘Tanim-bala’ back? Woman, 75, stopped at NAIA for bullet in bag

The couple denied bringing live ammunition.

They accused a wheelchair attendant of extorting P50,000 from them in exchange for being released from detention. CDG

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TAGS: Bullet, Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), tanim bala
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