MANILA -- (UPDATED) ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto "John" Bertiz III on Saturday drew online criticism for allegedly disobeying security protocol and harassing a personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
In a clip uploaded by Facebook page Bitcoin 101, Bertiz can be seen passing through a metal detector at the NAIA terminal 2, while supposedly refusing to remove his shoes.
Bertiz then raised what appeared to be an ID, inches away from the face of a screener manning the metal detector. The congressman then snatched off the airport personnel's own ID, walking away with it and out of the video's frame.
The Facebook post credited the NAIA airport police as the video's source.
Bertiz last week also went viral for joking that a new batch of agricultural and biosystems engineers will not get their licenses from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) if they are not familiar with Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, who was supposed to speak at their oath-taking ceremony.
CONGRESSMAN CLAIMS SOME CHINESE BYPASSED PROTOCOL
Bertiz claimed that the video, which has racked up some 240,000 views, was spliced and did not show him calling out the screener for allegedly letting some foreigners skip taking off their shoes during the security check.
“Bakit 'yun pinalampas mo? Ang tanong ko lang, may ilang dumaan na, 'yung iba escorted, mga Korean at Chinese na diretso lang. Pero ang slip-on shoes nila di sinisita,” he said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
(Why did you let them off. My only question is, there were some who Chinese and Koreans who merely passed through, several of them with escorts. They were not chided for their slip-on shoes.)
“They spliced the video, ang gusto lang nila makita,” he added.
(They spliced the video to show only what they wanted to be seen.)
Bertiz also noted that he went through the checks despite having a security ID issued by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal. He had already apologized in a separate statement.
"I offer no excuse. I am sincerely sorry for my actions," he said.
But the lawmaker said he was opposed to the idea that while authorities are having a hard time securing CCTV footage from NAIA, airport personnel can easily access such footage and even post it on social media.
“Sa dami ng reports like OFW na nawalan ng pera, pag humingi ng CCTV dapat may court clearance. Ang dami pang human trafficking na problema, tinatawid nila. Nasisita ba to sa CCTV?” he said.
(There are many reports of OFWs losing their money. They should have court clearance before asking for CCTV clips. There are many victims of human trafficking who slip through airports. Are these reported because of the CCTV?)
The Office for Transportation Security explained there are 3 security conditions in airports.
In the case of Bertiz, security condition level 2 was being implemented at NAIA, which means all passengers are required to remove their shoes during the final security check.
“Lahat naman ng pasahero talagang dumadaan diyan. In our country, the only one exempted is the President. From VP down, hindi exempted diyan sa screening na 'yan. That is embodied sa international law,” OTS administrator Undersecretary Arturo Evangelista said.
(All passengers go through that. In our country, the only one exempted from that is the President. From the Vice President down, everyone is not exempted from that screening.)
In a statement Sunday, MIAA, the Department of Transportation, and the Office for Transportation Security said they have begun consolidating the actual footages, promising a "thorough investigation" of the incident.
"Authorities are now studying if any law or protocol has been violated, and assures all individuals concerned that any decision shall strictly be in accordance to existing rules, regulations, and procedures being implemented in our airports," the statement added.