MIAA chief grilled over OFW's tanim-bala case

Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 12 2015 11:26 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2015 01:51 PM

MANILA - The chief of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) came under fire after failing to directly answer some queries from one of the senators investigating the' tanim-bala' scheme that continues to victimize airline passengers.

MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado was grilled by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. after the Senate Blue Ribbon and Public Services Committees heard the testimony of overseas Filipino worker Gloria Ortinez.

"I am not so sure anymore of the time and the date where I got it," Honrado said when Marcos asked him when he first learned of Ortinez' case. "Yung report sa akin ng PNP is she was inquested," he said.

"So the reporting for this kind of thing is not so formal? You wait a day, another three days?" Marcos said.

Ortinez, an OFW in Hong Kong for 26 years, was arrested on October 25 after a bullet was allegedly found inside her hand carry luggage while about to take her connecting flight at the NAIA Terminal 2.

Based on her account, the bullet inside a red pouch was found in the side pocket of her hand carry bag.

She told the Senate committees probing the scam that airport personnel tried to make her admit that the bullet was hers.

"Nung nakita nilang bala na po may ipapapirma kung di ako susunod poposasan nila ako. Di naman nila pinabasa sa akin. Hanggang ngayon di ko alam kung ano yung pinirmahan," Ortinez said.

The OFW was released after the prosecutor said the bullet submitted as evidence was different from the one on the photograph sworn to by the police investigators and personnel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the dismissal of the complaint against Ortinez.

When asked if Honrado looked into the OFW's case, the MIAA General Manager said: "I did not because I'm not in the loop on the filing of the cases."

He added: "As far as I'm concerned, the due process of the PNP was done."

The senator mentioned that there are 22 agencies under Honrado's jurisdiction but he has no control over them.

"If you have no control over agencies at the airport, what's your job?" Marcos asked.

To this, Honrado answered, "It's coordination".

"We have the airport security council. We discuss issues, coordinate with each other because that is only as far as we can go," Honrado explained.

But he also mentioned that the said council, which he chairs, last convened on the first week of October.

"The SOP says that the airport security council meets once a quarter or as necessary," he stressed.

After grilling Honrado, Marcos then turned his attention to Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

"On a grading system of 1-10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how would you grade General Manager Honrado's performance in this entire incident?" Marcos asked.

Abaya said, "7, your honor."

"You consider him to have done more than satisfactory job? I have to say Secretary Abaya, we are very disappointed. Your standards, if you were to grade him at 7 out of 10 considering all that has happened, you set your standard very very low," Marcos said.