Authorities placed under investigation a septuagenarian couple caught with a bullet inside their hand-carry bag while about to board a flight to Los Angeles Tuesday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
Esteban and Salvacion Cortabista were able to get past the initial x-ray scanning counter but were stopped upon reaching the second and final checking at the departure area by members of the Office for Transportation Security. The bullet was that for a .38 caliber pistol, OTS said.
The Cortabistas, according to airport policemen, initially admitted owning the live bullet but when their relatives and members of the media arrived at the scene, they denied owning the prohibited item.
The Cortabistas were about to board Korean Air flight KE 622 bound for Los Angeles, California when the incident happened. They claimed they came from Antipolo and this was the second time they will go to the United States.
Airport management, meanwhile, conducted a probe of OTS personnel assigned at the initial checking where the couple was able to pass through without the bullet being noticed by OTS.
Since November, airport authorities apprehended more than 50 passengers carrying bullets in their bags at Naia terminals 1, 2 and 3 amid the growing controversy over the alleged bullet-planting scheme involving erring personnel.
The Police Aviation Security Group said they continue to apprehend people despite the installation of disposal booths or cubicles served as passengers’ luggage checking station before entering security screening checkpoints.
The cubicle dubbed as the “Last Look Booth” would help passengers dispose of items the airport authorities prohibit such as gun, bullets, knife and other deadly weapons.
Police Director General Ricardo Marquez recently ordered a lifetyle check on policemen in accordance with the directive of President Benigno Aquino III to take concrete steps in addressing the controversy over the “tanim-bala” modus happening at the airports.
President Aquino had ordered the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Transportation and Communications to conduct an investigation of the scheme.