Independence Day laglag-bala incident gives Duterte reason to relieve NAIA personnel

A laglag bala incident at NAIA occured on Independence Day. Now, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has a reason to relieve airport personnel.

"Kayong nasa NAIA, pag may tanim (bala) pa diyan lahat kayo alis [Those at NAIA, if there is still bullet planting there all of you will be out]," the incoming head of state declared during an appearance on the show of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy hours after voting in the 2016 national and local elections closed.

"I do not care even if your chief of office or your CO (commanding officer) there knows or has nothing to do with it," Duterte stressed.

On Sunday, June 12, the bullet planting scheme happened again.

Boboy Consunji, Chief Executive Officer of Philippine-based marketing communications company Campaigns & Grey narrated the unfortunate and embarrassing incident involving his friends.

His Facebook post reads:
It had to happen on Philippine Independence Day. A few minutes after I dropped off my two friends around 10.20 AM today at NAIA Terminal 3, I get a message from them about NAIA security discovering three bullets in the luggage. I was shocked since I thought the "laglag bala" scam had ceased at the airport. Before I could even turn back to help them out, I was told they got through with no incidents of extortion or harassment. It must be my Pinoy friend's steely gaze and calm demeanour that unsettled the security (by the way, he's a CEO in a media agency, a longtime KL resident; he's never held a gun). Or the scammers' finding out that my other friend was Malaysian (he could pass for Pinoy; and it's been known that they'd only prey on fellow Pinoys). The scammers asked them to dispose of the bullets. They didn't, refusing to touch the bullets. It seemed like the scammers were intimidated by my friends and knew that they weren't scam-worthy.

It was embarrassing for me as their Filipino host to learn that they had to end their holiday in the Philippines on such a distressing note. They're frequent visitors here, and would spend their hard-earned dollars on Philippine tourism. They don't deserve to be treated this way.

The question remains, why is this still happening? It's just too bad that my friends weren't able to get the names of those who "found" the bullets. I know it's been officially declared that mere possession of bullets in an airport is not a crime. But just the same, people at the airport should be sanctioned, fired and tried for trying to pull off such scams, for traumatizing tourists that we lure to the islands.

So, please continually to be alert when travelling through our airports. If it happens to you or anyone, stand your ground, and take pictures of the scammers and get their names. And, please share this note to as many influential people in government who are advocating for change.

I hope this gets Senator Ralph Recto's attention who pushed for the "laglag bala" probe in the last Congress. Sir RGR, the scam is still on. This has got to stop. Thank you.

As of Tuesday morning, Consunji's post got over 6,000 shares and hundreds of thousands more on several Facebook pages that reposted the story.

Even if the scammers failed in the operation, it's a fact that the laglag-bala scheme still exists despite Duterte's stern warning. It's as if the orchestrators are trying to challenge the incoming President.

What do you think?

H/T: Sassan Benitez