DOJ asked to transfer bullet case to Pasay prosecutors’ office
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Thursday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to transfer the illegal possession of ammunition case against a septuagenarian couple to the Pasay City Prosecutors’ Office.
In a letter to Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano, PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said it is only proper to transfer the case against Salvacion Cortabista, 75, and husband Esteban Cortabista, 78, before the Pasay Prosecutors’ Office because the City Prosecutor of Pasay City “is the Vice-Chairman of the Special Task Force created by the DOJ.”
Acosta added that the Regional Trial Court of Pasay also has jurisdiction over the case in the event that a criminal action will be filed against the couple.
The couple were the latest victims of the “tanim-bala” or ”bullet-planting scheme” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
The two were supposed to go to the United States to seek medical treatment for their severe arthritis when they were stopped at the airport after an ammunition was discovered inside the handbag of Salvacion.
The couple already filed a criminal case against the wheelchair attendant Niño Namba and x-ray screeners Ferdinand Morales and Fatti Dame Go of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) before the Pasay Prosecutors’ Office.
The couple insisted that Namba, Morales and Go conspired to plant a bullet inside Salvacion’s handbag to extort money from her.
After the bullet was discovered, the couple said Morales told them, “‘Mahina ang P50,000 dyan (P50,000 would be a small amount for that),” clearly intimating that they should pay in order for Salvacion to be able to board the aircraft.
“At that point, I looked at Ferdinand Morales, held my red belt bag and told him ‘one hundred twenty pesos lang ang pera ko (I only have P120 with me),” she recalled.
The couple said that during the incident last April 19, they noticed Morales obviously signaling to Go while only Namba held their bags for inspection.
The Cortabistas insisted that the bullet found in their bag was planted, adding that they passed through the initial security checkpoint twice without the bullet being detected by airport authorities. RAM/rga
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