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Lifestyle check sought on airport, OTS officials

An administration lawmaker on Thursday   prodded the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct a lifestyle check on all personnel and officials of the Office of Transportation Security and the Manila International Airport Authority following the disclosure of the alleged “laglag bala” extortion scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

House deputy majority leader and Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles added that third-party probers should conduct the investigation in connection with the “laglag barya” scheme at the NAIA, preferably by the National Bureau of Investigation and not by their own people.

Nograles

Nograles said that he had received information  that many OTS and MIAA personnel are living beyond their means because of the various moneymaking schemes that could include the “laglag-barya” racket that had just been exposed by their victims.

He said that the action of OTS director Miguel Oraa where he merely transferred the OTS personnel who were accused in two cases of “laglag-bala” incidents speaks a lot about the extraordinary lenience of OTS officials in treating rogue personnel.

“Extortion is a serious offense. It is not just an administrative offense but also a serious felony under our revised penal code and our Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. They should have been suspended and held in custody pending results of their investigation,” Nograles said.    

“Simply transferring them to another unit gives me the impression that there is really collusion in the OTS    to cover up    these money-making rackets at the NAIA. While other countries see their airports as a source of pride, it’s a crying shame that our have become ours source of embarrassment,” Nograles said.

Nograles said that the “laglag bala” racket at the NAIA could just be one of the money-making schemes at the NAIA and he would not be surprised if there are also cases of evidence-planting   including illegal drugs on arriving  and outbound passengers.

“Why would anyone smuggle in or smuggle out one or two pieces of bullets in a very secure facility like an airport? Or why would one take the risk of doing the same thing on a pack of marijuana or a sachet of shabu? I think that a third-party investigating team should not just investigate the most recent cases of laglag barya cases but should also look into other related cases in the past,” Nograles said.

Nograles pointed out the third-party investigation should also include a lifestyle check by the Office of the Ombudsman on all OTS and MIAA personnel and officials.

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