Philippines: Elderly Couple File Complaint Against Airport Staff for Bullet Planting

An elderly couple allegedly victimized by the "laglag-bala" or bullet planting scheme on Tuesday filed criminal charges against airport officials and employees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a manifestation before the Department of Justice, Salvacion Cortabista, 75, and Esteban Cortabista, 78, through the Public Attorney's Office, informed Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva that they have filed with the Pasay Prosecutor's Office a complaint against wheelchair attendant Nino Namba, and Airport inspectors Ferdinand Morales and Fatti Dame Go.

Salvacion said she was supposed to fly to Los Angeles, California last April 19, 2016, along with her 78-year old husband and niece when she was stopped at the airport. She said she was suffering from severe arthritis and engaged Namba to help them with their bags and push the wheelchair. Suprisingly, at the final x-ray screening machine, a live bullet was allegedly detected inside her bag by Morales, a member of Office of the Transportation Security.

"Morales, and another OTS Member, Fatti Dame Go, together with Namba, implied to Salvacion and her niece Maria Fe Balagot, that more than P50,000 would 'settle' the case," the complaint-affidavit read.

The couple refused the demand and ended up being charged with the DOJ for illegal possession of ammunition, but Salvacion had already pleaded before Prosecutor Villanueva for the dismissal of the case.  A decision is now pending.

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