Beware of ‘Laglag Bala’ Extort Syndicate at Manila Airport

Travelers entering Ninoy Aquino may need to stay on guard with their belongings after alleged attempts to extort two passengers in separate incidents by concealing bullets in their luggage.

Authorities were prompted into investigating the case of “laglag bala” modus operandin when Lane Michael White, 20, and a US citizen was supposed to travel to Palawan with his family when they were stopped at the X-ray scanner area of NAIA Terminal 4.

According to White, who belongs to a missionary group, a security guard pulled out a .22 caliber bullet from his luggage pocket after repeatedly scanning it on the machine. White denied the bullet belonged to him and told security officers he was not aware how it got inside the luggage.

But during the conversation, While alleged that a male security personnel told him that the issue can be settled for P30,000. White refused to settle, and instead insisted his innocence.

“Kung dala po namin yun paano po dumaan ng Jacksonville Airport which is a military airport?” White’s stepmom Iloisa said.

White is the second person to report such incident in as many weeks.

Last week, a Filipino balikbayan named Rhed Austria de Guzman shared on Facebook about an incident where two bullets were mysteriously found at her luggage. The wheelchair-bound balikbayan admitted to paying P500 to airport security personnel to allow her to depart the country.

The incidents prompted an investigation by airport authorities.

“The investigation is ongoing as to the two security screening officers involved. ‘Yung isa doon was a baggage inspector, the other one was an x-ray operator,” NAIA spokesman David de Castro said.

The staff in question were already relieved of duties and are now under investigation.

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