MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte chimed in on the so-called ''tanim-bala'' controversy after an engineer
was allegedly victimized by the scam at the Davao International Airport.
The tough-talking mayor said he suspects that the bullets found in Augusto Dorde Dagan's bag were planted in Manila.
He said a thorough investigation must be launched into the matter. He added a syndicate may be behind the numerous cases of alleged bullet planting cases.
''Duda ko na pagpasok pa lang niya sa Manila sa may cargo - di natin iyan makita - doon na ito pinasok (bala). Ang nakakapasok lang diyan ay empleyado ng airlines at pulis. So sindikato iyan. Nasa loob at nasa labas," he said in his television program.
Duterte, who has repeatedly shunned
running for president, said if he were the country's president, he will have the perpertrators of the scam swallow bullets.
''Kapag ako maging presidente, ipalulunok ko talaga ang bala, ang naninigarilyo nga pinakain ko ang sigarilyo, ang nagdala ng pekeng dokumento pinakain ko,'' he said.
Duterte also urged President Benigno Aquino III to personally address the matter as this has caused embarrassment for the country.
The alleged scam was first exposed in the media in September, when a Facebook post of a balikbayan who claimed to have been victimized by the tanim-bala scheme went viral.
The wheelchair-bound balikbayan said she paid P500 to the airport security personnel to allow her to depart the country.
An American tourist was also detained after a bullet was found
in the pocket of his luggage. He also claimed being victimized by the same scheme.
Public rage against the alleged modus operandi was reignited late October when an ABS-CBN News exclusive report revealed that a long-time Hong Kong OFW
was arrested at the NAIA after a bullet was found in her bag.
Several other alleged "tanim-bala" incidents had been reported since then.
A source said the scam has been going on for years
The Department of Transportation and Communications, which handles the airport security screeners, vowed to probe the alleged cases and install more closed-circuit television cameras at the terminals. - with a report from Claire Cornelio, ABS-CBN News Southern Mindanao