MANILA -- Authorities are investigating the smuggling of $370 million (P18.8 billion) in cash through the capital's main airport, a customs spokesman said Tuesday, as he warned that security personnel found to be in on the racket would be fired.
Surveillance footage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are being reviewed to check if the suspects were indeed escorted by police, military and airport security, said Customs spokesperson Vincent Philip Maronilla.
Some of those who brought in the money were "candid enough to declare they're bringing in these amounts for gambling," Maronilla told DZMM radio.
Most of the travelers came from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and China, he said. A certain "Rodriguez" group brought in about $200 million or around while the "Chinese" group smuggled $168 million, he said.
Maronilla refused to give further details in an interview with citing an ongoing investigation.
Under Philippine law, travelers entering the country must declare anything in excess of $10,000 upon arrival.
Maronilla said authorities could revise Customs declaration forms to catch potential money launderers.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency plans to set up a national task force to look into the alleged money laundering.