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Boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is offering free legal services for airline passengers who would be victimized by the "laglag bala" racket.
Pacquiao, vice chairman of the House of Representatives committee on overseas workers' affairs, said those who believe they have fallen prey to the the scheme should get in touch with lawyer Jojo Bondoc at mobile no. 09209211162 and inquire how they could avail of free legal services.
He said he has assigned a team of lawyers to help victims of the “tanim bala” modus.
The scheme involves the discreet dropping of bullets by airport personnel into the bags of unwitting airline passengers with the aim of extorting money from them upon apprehension so charges against them would be dropped.
Pacquiao made the offer even as he urged Malacañang to take “swift and concrete steps” in addressing the issue, which he said has been a cause of embarrasment for the country in the international community.
“Dapat nating ikabahala at dapat bigyan ang agarang solusyon ang problema kahit pa totoo o hindi ang sinasabi ng pamahalaan na ito ay 'isolated incident' lamang,” he said in a statement.
“Ang ganitong modus ay sumisira hindi lamang sa imahe ng ating bansa kundi pati na rin ang dangal at pagkatao ng mga inosenteng OFWs at iba pang biktima,” Pacquiao added.
The boxer said he was troubled that there have been OFWs victimized by the scheme, considering the hardship they need to endure to give a better life for their families.
Citing the recent apprehension of 56-year-old OFW Gloria Ortinez, Pacquiao said: “Pinalaya siya, subalit maibabalik pa ba nito ang kanyang nasirang dangal? Makakabalik pa kaya siya sa kanyang trabaho? Sino ang magbabayad sa kasiraang ginawa sa kanyang pagkatao?”
Ortinez, who has been working as a domestic helper for two decades, was apprehended before boarding her flight to Hong Kong on October 25. She has denied the allegation, saying the bullet did not belong to her.
Although the Pasay City Prosecutors Office has ordered Ortinez’s release, she now faces the danger of losing her job in Hong Kong after the incident.
Malacañang on Saturday said President Benigno Aquino III has already instructed Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to investigate the alleged modus by airport staff following public outcry over recent "tanim bala" incidents. —ALG, GMA News