DOTr probe finds 4 OTS personnel 'guilty of stealing' in cash-swallowing scandal

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2023 02:16 AM

MANILA - An administrative investigation into the alleged cash-swallowing incident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport found four personnel of the Office for Transportation Security “guilty of stealing”, according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista. 

These include the woman, seen on a CCTV footage, putting the money into her mouth, and three other accomplices.

Bautista said a review of videos from different angles show what may have happened to the $300 that a traveler said was missing from his bag. Asked whether the four OTS personnel will be dismissed, Bautista said, “following due process”.

“Ang sinasabi sa imbestigasyon ay guilty na pera (ang sinubo). Although ang sinasabi nga ng babae ay chocolate daw, mayroon siyang affidavit. Pero ang nakita ng mga imbestigador na guilty siya,” Bautista said in an interview with the media.

 “Ang result ay, although hindi pa lumalabas officially, parang lumalabas na talagang nakita na mayroon silang pagkakasala… Apat kasi yung nakita natin dito na may talagang ginawa sa CCTV. Siguro pag nagkaroon ng criminal investigation, may lalabas pa kung mayroon pang other people involved,” he added.

RESIGNATION

OTS Chief Ma.O Aplasca filed his courtesy resignation on Tuesday following the incident, Bautista confirmed.

In a letter addressed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Aplasca said he rendered his resignation after House Speaker Martin Romualdez’s pronouncement that he will block the approval of the proposed 2024 budget for the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies if Aplasca does not quit his post.

“Sabi niya he’s very sad about it, but of course, sabi nga niya mayroon ding pagkukulang ang agency. Although sinasabi niya na karamihan nito ay mga minanang problema,” Bautista said.

“Sabi ko sa kanya may nangyayari talaga. We have to accept the fact that we have responsibilities also as officials,” he added.

OTS Deputy Administrator Asec. Jose Briones Jr. will temporarily serve as officer-in-charge.

Bautista ordered the OTS to tighten the screening and vetting of job applicants.

“Puwdeng siguro mas maghigpit. There’s a process naman. Mayroon naman talagang mga requirement. Siguro ang gagawin natin ay talagang magkaroon siguro ng more stringent process of vetting the applicants,” he said.

“For future recruitments, see to it that we vet all the applicants very well. See to it na mayroon silang clearances from government agencies,” Bautista added.

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