Alan Cayetano files complaint vs transpo officials over laglag-bala

The senator says officials should be held accountable for not doing enough to crack down on the scam before it got media attention

Pia Ranada

Published: 1:28 PM November 3, 2015

Updated: 5:09 PM November 3, 2015

COMPLAINT FILED. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (R) and VACC founder Dante Jimenez (L) file their joint administrative complaint against airport and transportation officials at the office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Senator and vice presidential candidate Alan Peter Cayetano filed a complaint for an administrative case against airport and transportation officials over the laglag-bala modus operandi victimizing airport passengers.

The lawmaker lodged the complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on Tuesday, November 3. He was accompanied by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founder Dante Jimenez.

The complaint seeks a preventive suspension order against:

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Hornado

Office for Transportation Security Administrator Roland Recomono

Philippine National Police (PNP) director Pablo Francisco Balagtas

Cayetano said that these officials are administratively liable for the tanim-bala (planting of bullets) incidents due to the principle of “command responsibility,” which was institutionalized by Executive Order 226 signed by President Fidel Ramos.

“Under the EO, if you know a crime is happening or has happened and you know it is your personnel that are doing the crime yet you did not implement any preventive, corrective measure, you are liable administratively,” Cayetano told media.

A look at the EO shows that officials are to be held accountable for “neglect of duty” if they fulfill the 3 requirements: 

They have knowledge of the crime.

The perpetrators are their “subordinates” or “others within his area of responsbility.”

They did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after the crime.

Decisive action needed

Cayetano says this is his counterpart action to the “decisive” steps taken by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Sa Davao City, nagdagdag kaagad ng police, nagbigay ng leaflets, at 'yung mayor mismo dun, si Mayor Duterte, ang nagsabing akong in charge dito,” said Cayetano.

(In Davao City, they immediately added police, gave out leaflets, Mayor Duterte himself said he was in charge.)

He compared this to the slow action on the part of the national government.

Dito sa atin, parang may denial pa. Ibig sabihin ayaw pang tanggapin ng gobyerno na may problema pa,” said Cayetano. (Here it seems there is still denial. This means the government still can’t accept there is a problem.)

Though cases reported by media are being investigated already, he said it took government a month before tackling the issue on the level of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

His complaint was limited to an administrative case because there is no law declaring “neglect of duty” a crime. Such a law deserves the attention of Congress, he said.

The laglag-bala or tanim-bala scam allegedly involves airport personnel planting bullets in the luggage of departing and arriving passengers in order to extort from them. 

The scheme has reportedly been in operation for many years now with some incidents traced as far back as 2008. –