Sec. Herminio Coloma, the Malacanang spokesman quickly dismissed the series of scandals popularly known as ‘Laglag Bala’ an ‘ísolated case’ and there is no cause for alarm for the general public.
The ‘Laglag Bala’ scam made the rounds in the social media and went viral before the TV networks picked it up and reported the incidents involving NAIA baggage inspectors and X-ray screening personnel.
However, here’s another case that will prove that the incidence of ‘Laglag Bala’ in our NAIA Terminals is not an isolated case.
On Aug. 15, 2015, an OFW bound for Saudi Arabia transiting from Mindanao via the Laguindingan Airport to NAIA personally experienced the so-called ‘Laglag Bala’ scam at the hands of the NAIA staff manning the X-ray station in NAIA Terminal 2.
In his narratives of the event, the OFW said that his pack bag contains clothes while important documents such as passport were in his clutch bag.
The OFW wondered how he was able to hurdle all the airport scanners starting in Laguindingan Airport near Cagayan de Oro all the way to the three scanners at the NAIA Terminal 2 without the x-ray operator discovering the bullets in his bag perplexed him until he set foot in Saudi Arabia.
The OFW recalled that as soon as his papers were in order, he immediately proceeded to the immigration and then to the pre-departure area. This was the point where the terror began.
His belongings according to the x-ray operator warranted an inspection since it contained something ‘strange.’ This was the point where the lady manning the x-ray told him that the baggage inspector will perform a spot inspection.
The baggage inspector then took his bag.
Before the inspection process started, the baggage inspector told the OFW that he will start checking the bag containing the ‘suspicious’ item. He further instructed the latter to stay as is.
While the inspector was doing his thing, the OFW fixed himself up like donning his shoes etc.
Curious of what the inspector was looking inside his bag, he asked the inspector the second time around! He was in for a shock of his life when the inspector told him he just found two ‘LIVE’ .22 caliber bullets from his bag and showed it to the OFW.
The OFW said he was totally shocked & clueless how the bullets ended up in his bag. The woman then announced they already informed the police about the bullet incident. Panic and fear set in.
When he heard the word ‘police’ for an interrogation and possibly spending jail time until he is cleared of the case, his mind went black!
The next thing he knew, his passport and boarding pass were confiscated and his mind went totally blank thereafter. The OFW refused to believe his bad luck, but the bullets were shoved in front him and its real.
The OFW was so stunned that he could not think straight. All he could remember was the line he told the them, “I will be flying to Saudi Arabia and I don’t think anyone would even dare of bringing a contraband like live bullets inside the Kingdom.”
The OFW continued his narration that during the investigation, he was asked if it was his first time to travel to Saudi Arabia. The OFW told them he had been in and out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a longtime OFW.
While waiting for the arrival of the police, the OFW told the baggage inspector if ever he is detained, he has no money to post bail or even to pay for his fare to return to the province since he spent a large sum for the interment of his deceased father.
The next thing he knew, he found himself in the corner, sat there and didn’t stop thinking. In desperation, he told himself that whatever will be, will be!
Out of the blue, the OFW was told to stand up and sign on the paper declaring that two bullets were recovered from his possession.
After affixing his signature, his passport and boarding pass were returned. The baggage inspector told him he could leave, but warned him not to commit the same offense.
The OFW was relieved that he was able to get out of his ordeal unscathed with the help of God, but feared he might end up with ‘pasma’ since he left at dawn from hsi house without breakfast and did not take lunch during the entire ordeal. The OFW said that anyone who went through his ordeal would not feel the fangs of hunger!
Before ending his letter, the OFW said that after reading the viral post of Rhed Austria de Guzman, he felt like the thorns from his chest were lifted.
The OFW further said that all the questions that was hounding him since his ordeal at the hands of the airport personnel are now clear; how the 2 bullets ended up in his bag and remained undetected by the 3 scanners until he went through the last X-ray scanner is no longer a mystery to him.
If you prefer the Filipino version, check out the screenshot of message below.