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Lifestyle check on NAIA cops eyed over tanim-bala

Mike Frialde, Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at conducting a lifestyle check on members of the Aviation Security Group (ASG) assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) amid the tanim-bala (bullet-planting) controversy.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said the lifestyle check would clear public perception that police officers were involved in the extortion scheme at the NAIA.

“A lifestyle check is an option. It is part of the investigative perspective that the PNP is looking at,” Marquez said in an interview.

He said the PNP is conducting its own investigation of its personnel linked to alleged planting of bullets in the luggage of airline passengers.

Marquez said they have requested documents from the Office of the Transport Security (OTS) following reports that some police officers were involved in the scam.

Earlier, the PNP-ASG washed its hands of the tanim-bala scandal.

Superintendent Jeanne Panisan, spokesman for the ASG, said they have no role in checking the bags of arriving and departing passengers at the NAIA.

“We are not tasked to inspect the luggage of travelers. We don’t put luggage in the X-ray machine. That is the job of airport screeners. We are called by the OTS only if a passenger is found to be carrying bullets, illegal drugs or other contraband,” Panisan said.

‘Bullet victim’

Meanwhile, a Pasay City court ordered the lawyers of alleged bullet-planting victim, American missionary Lane Michael White, to answer the motion earlier filed by two OTS employees.  

Airport baggage inspectors Maria Elma Cena and Marvin Garcia have opposed White’s appeal to have the case of illegal possession of firearms filed against him dismissed.

Judge Pedro Gutierrez of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 119 ordered Ernesto Arellano, lawyer for the 20-year-old missionary, to furnish the court a copy of the result of the probe conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation into the tanim-bala scam.

White, who is from Florida, was earlier arrested while he was with his father, also an American pastor, and Filipino stepmother at the domestic terminal.

The three had flown in from the US and were supposed to visit Palawan.

White accused Cena and Garcia of planting a .22-caliber bullet in his luggage after it passed through the X-ray scanner at the departure area of NAIA Terminal 4 on Sept. 17.

After six days in detention following his arrest, White posted bail and filed a counter-complaint for planting of evidence against Cena and Garcia.

ACIRC AVIATION SECURITY GROUP CENA AND GARCIA DIRECTOR GENERAL RICARDO MARQUEZ ERNESTO ARELLANO JUDGE PEDRO GUTIERREZ OF THE PASAY CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH LANE MICHAEL WHITE MARIA ELMA CENA AND MARVIN GARCIA MARQUEZ NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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