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Syndicate behind laglag bala extortion racket —NBI source

A major syndicate may be behind the string of bullet plantings at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), a source from the National Bureau of Investigation told GMA News on Thursday.

The source confided that OFWs and elderly persons were the main targets of the lone syndicate operating at the national airport, Steve Dailisan reported on News TV Live.

Initial investigations also showed that the same group could be responsible for the "laglag bala" scam, sex-for-flight scheme, and extortion tactics where passengers must pay a certain amount to board their flights.

The source claimed that the syndicate was composed of members from the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) and Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AvSec).

Subpoenas from the NBI will be issued to suspected members of both groups while each reported victim of the scheme will be interviewed by the special task group assigned to the case.

But the NBI's task force head Atty. Manuel Eduarte told GMA News Online his team has not yet made any pronouncements about the issue.

He said it was too early to conclude that a syndicate was responsible for planting bullets in passenger bags and that the seven-man task force was formed just the other day.

"As far as I and my office is concerned, wala pronouncement na ganoon. Initial stage pa lang ng investigation, so how can I come out with those pronouncements?" he said.

"That [issuance of subpoenas] is a strategy [of the NBI] when conducting fact-finding. But right now, wala pa. Malayo pa iyan," Eduarte added.

OTS administrator Roland Recomono, for his part, denied that a syndicate was behind the so-called "laglag bala" extortion racket.

PNP AvSec officials had earlier denied airport police involvement in the scheme. —JST, GMA News