2 OTS, 4 cops charged for 'tanim-bala' incident

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2015 04:14 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2015 12:27 AM

MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal charges against several airport officers in connection with the arrest and detention of alleged "tanim-bala" modus victim Lane Michael White.

White claims to have fallen victim to the bullet-planting modus upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 (NAIA 4) last September 17.

Charged in a complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the National Bureau of Investigation, on White's behalf, are Maria Elena Cena and Marvin Garcia of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS); and SPO2 Rolando A. Clarin, P/CINSP Adriano Junio, SPO4 Ramon Bernardo, and SPO2 Romy Navarro of the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP).

Cena and Garcia, shown in a video footage to have handled White's luggage at the X-ray machine area and called his attention for the alleged presence of a bullet in the luggage, are facing charges of robbery/extortion; violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation and Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers) and RA No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

Clarin, Junio, Bernardino, and Navarro face charges for Violations of Article V, Section 38 (Liability for Planting Evidence) of RA No. 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act); robbery/extortion; and violations of RA No. 7438 and RA No. 3019.

White and his stepmother, Filipina Eloisa Zoleta, are named as complainants of the case.

Based on their testimonies, the airport officers allegedly tried to extort P30,000 for the non-filing of charges against White.


The complaint was an offshoot of the report submitted by the NBI task force created by the DOJ to conduct the "tanim-bala" modus probe.

In a news conference on Thursday, Justice Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas said that the NBI came up with the conclusion that the bullet-planting racket does exist at the NAIA perpetrated by corrupt airport officers.

However, the NBI report states that the investigation was unable to establish the "likelihood of an organized syndicate involving OTS, AVSEGROUP, and even [Manila International Airport Authority] officers."

Caparas said the NBI probe factored in not only recent reported "tanim-bala" cases at the NAIA but also reported bullet-planting cases in the past 5 years.

The NBI is poised to continue the investigation.

"This whole investigation is not over yet. Tuloy-tuloy pa ito. We (DOJ and NBI) have the same inclination to really find out how this particular incident came to be. We cannot say that the whole incident is done," Caparas said.

For now, the DOJ advises the public to make sure that airport officers do not come in contact with or handle their luggage since this provides the window of opportunity for bullet-planting.

The DOJ will soon publish a redacted version of the report, stressing that certain "raw information" are still being pursued and evaluated.

EXCL: 4 layer ng extortion ng 'tanim-bala'