Turned out that the ‘Laglag Bala’ modus operandus victimizing a Balikbayan named Rhed Austria De Guzman was not an isolated case because a similar incident happened to an American employing the same trick this September.
The American victim was Lane Michael White, 20 years old from Florida who was supposed to fly to Palawan with his stepmother Iloisa Zoleta White.
The unlucky American was jailed for six days after refusing to pay 30 thousand pesos when the NAIA staff in-charged in the x-ray machine ‘allegedly’ discovered .22 bullets from his luggage. A personnel from the Office of Transportation Security demanded cash in exchange for his freedom, but the young American refused to pay which led to his detention for six days at the PNP Custodial Detention at the NAIA Terminal 1.
The American said, “They sniffer a bullet in my bags and because of that he spent five days and six nights in jail. He said that his experience was ‘pretty atrocious’ and endured ants, bugs, mosquitoes among others.”
The young American’s stepmom maintained their innocence, saying that it was impossible for them to fly out of the Jacksonville airport on September 12 without getting noticed since it has a very strict security being a military airport.
The incident is now under investigation.
According to NAIA spokesman David de Castro, “Never namin ipagsasawalang bahala ang insidente. (We won’t take the incident very lightly.) We cater to these passengers, more so many of them are tourists and we want to make sure that they are secure and safe whenever they transit through our airport.”
As reported by 24 Oras reporter Susan Enriquez of GMA 7, a baggage inspector and an xray operator are placed under preventive suspension while an investigation is underway. In addition, the ID’s of the suspended personnel are confiscated while the NAIA management is gathering evidence.
You may watch the report from 24 Oras below.