Atty. Persida Acosta, Chief of the Public Attorney’s Office, has a few pieces of advice for OFWs and travellers about to pass through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that she made public on Facebook.
She says that “any incriminatory act of planting evidence can be criminally charged of ‘incriminatory machinations’ under Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code (arresto mayor) and section 38 of the Comprehensive Firearms Act R.A. No. 10591 regarding the planting of ammunitions punishable with reclusion perpetua.”
Reclusion perpetua is equivalent to 30 years! Acosta advises travellers to call the Public Attorney’s Office should a bullet be strangely found inside their luggage: +63 2 9299436.
Manila Airport Security guards under investigation for extorting money from travellers
? The scam allegedly sees ammunition dropped into travellers
? Victims are then required to pay a fine at Ninoy Aquino International
? Around 40 personnel are reportedly under investigation following
Investigation are ongoing in Manila’s airport security following claims of an alleged ‘bullet-planting’ scam against passengers.
The scam reportedly sees ammunition being planted into travellers luggage as they go through security at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines.
Victims are then required to pay a fine ranging between 500 pesos (AUD15) and 30,000 pesos (AUD900) or face charges of illegal possession of ammunition. Some are allowed to board the aircraft after being required to sign a document that states they own the bullet(s) as anting-anting (amulet).
Many passengers who learned of the scam have wrapped their luggages and carry-on bags with plastic wrappers in a dire attempt to prevent the scammers from planting ammunition.
According to the BBC, an overseas Filipino worker and Japanese tourist are the latest to report that they have been victims of the so-called ‘bullet scam.’
The report further said that Filipino worker Gloria Ortinez missed her flight to Hong Kong after being held in police detention for several days.
Despite denying that the bullet was hers, and stating that she would never carry one because of Hong Kong’s strict security laws, she was held by the airport’s Office of Transportation Security (OTS).
Japanese tourist Kazunobu Sakamoto was arrested after failing to show documents authorising him to carry ammunition — after two bullets were found in his luggage.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that in September, a 20-year-old American man was detained for six days because he said he refused to pay a 30,000 peso penalty (AUD900), and an American woman in a wheelchair was forced to pay 500 pesos (AUD15) to be let off after two 22-Caliber bullets were found in one of the pockets of her luggage.
Surveillance at the airport has been increased following a spate of complaints. An investigation has been launched into some 40 airport personnel accused of involvement.
The bullet planting scam started as early as September when low-salaried employees of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport wanted to earn more money in preparation for the Christmas season.
There is still no information available on how this bullet scam will affect the already deteriorating tourism industry in the Philippines. Many Filipinos in Sydney are putting on hold their plans to travel to Manila.