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A video taken by the stepmother of a 20-year-old American tourist at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 4 screening area last September 17 shows how the "laglag bala" modus is done.
In a report on News TV Live on Saturday, the camp of 20-year-old Lane Michael White said that they will use the video, taken by his stepmother Eloisa Zoleta and shared by the Lawain Law Office to GMA News, as evidence to against the illegla possession of ammunition filed by the airport authorities against him.
The video opened with the shot of airport screening officer Marvin Garcia picking up White's luggage after it passed through the X-ray machine.
Garcia's colleague, identified as Maria Elma Cena, then opened the zipper of White's luggage. The two inspectors, who rummaged through the bag with their bare hands, appeared to be looking for a particular object.
After transferring the contents of White's luggage into the airport's blue plastic trays, the airport screening personnel put the bag through the X-ray machine once again.
After passing through the X-ray machine for the second time, the airport screeners summoned Zoleta and showed her the bullet allegedly found in White's luggage.
Zoleta and White were then brought to the office of the Philippine National Police's Aviation Security Group (AvSec), where the 20-year-old American tourist was allegedly coaxed by a police officer to admit that the bullet was his.
When White denied the allegation, the police officer allegedly threatened to hold him in the airport. This was supposedly followed by an attempt to extort P30,000 from him in exchange for the non-filing of charges.
White's camp said they will use the video as evidence in their motion for determination of probable cause so that the charge filed against him would be dropped.
GMA News is trying to contact AvSec and the Office of Transportation Security (OTS), as well as screening officers Garcia and Cena for comment.
The OTS is the DOTC's agency that oversees luggage screeners at the country's airports.
On Friday, OTS personnel wore pink ribbons to show their "love" for passengers at the aiport.
In recent weeks, a growing number of travelers have been arrested in NAIA and other local airports for having bullets in their luggage. Some of them claimed they were victimized by the supposed “Laglag Bala” syndicate operating in the airport.
President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to investigate the incidents.
Other concerned government agencies, meanwhile, have been tasked to "watch the watchers," referring to the airport screeners. —Xianne Arcangel/ALG, GMA News