The news about the screening security officer (SSO) at the Ninoy
Aguino International Airport who was caught stealing and swallowing
dollar bills has caused outrage among the public.
The Office for Transportation Security (OTS) has relieved and
suspended the female SSO, who will now face administrative and
But despite all the evidence against her, the officer is still denying
The incident has raised concerns about the hiring process of OTS
employees and their moral character.
Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Bob Zozobrado questioned
the selection of employees to run security checks in the country’s
premier airport, citing the incident as a black eye on the tourism
“Anong klaseng standards ang ginagamit ng HR manager ng OTS in hiring
these people?” he said in a TeleRadyo Serbisyo interview. “This is not
the first time. Maybe they just hire anybody they see on the street.”
Zozobrado urged the government, specifically the Department of
Transportation, to crack the whip on personnel caught stealing from
passengers and ensure they have good moral character.
Based on the CCTV footage at NAIA Terminal 1, the SSO swallowed three
100-dollar bills taken from a departing Chinese passenger in an
attempt to remove evidence.
The SSO apparently swallowed the money when the passenger complained
about losing his money after his bag passed through the security check
OTS administrator Ma. O Aplasca explained the incident happened on
Sept. 8, but they were only able to get the CCTV footage from the
management of the Manila International Airport Authority on Sept. 14.
He said the SSO is still denying that she stole the money even after
they got all the evidence.
“We have other footage and we have affidavits, so we are sure she will
be dismissed from the service,” he said.
Aside from the female SSO, at least two other airport employees
manning the security area have been placed under investigation.
Aplasca said a number of OTS personnel are saddened by the incident
since the majority of them are honest.
MIAA officials were dismayed over the incident while also expressing
their trust in the OTS to take care of the matter.
“We believe that they are doing what is necessary to police their
ranks and protect the reputation of the greater majority of
frontliners who remain true to their oath of office,” said MIAA
officer in charge Bryan Co.
Just recently, the OTS underwent a major reorganization following
incidents of stealing involving its screening officers at the airport.
The move includes the transfer of Security Screening Officers from the
National Capital Region to other regional airport stations in Luzon,
Visayas, and Mindanao.
From 2022 to March 2023, 61 personnel were sanctioned, with 18
dismissed, 26 reprimanded, three suspended, and 14 submitted for
review by the Legal Office.