Administrator of the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) Ma. O Aplasca has cast doubt on the possibility of arresting an OTS screener involved in a theft case, citing the absence of catching the individual “in the act.”
“We cannot arrest her because we did not catch her in the act,” Aplasca said, adding that the screener cannot be named at this time.
Aplasca’s remarks have led netizens to question the effectiveness of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in such incidents.
Ang taas ng standards. Ang pwede lang kasuhan yung caught in the act? Lahat ganyan pati patayan, rape, child abuse etc etc? https://t.co/kNL000PPkz
— Raquel Fortun (@Doc4Dead) September 21, 2023
Anong point ng cctv https://t.co/amhxA3be4g
— wartortoise (@paoloumpa) September 21, 2023
Nyi anung sagot po yan? Anu po silbi nung CCTV nyo?? Caught on the cam na oh. D pa rin pde hulihin 😡
— M A R K Y 👑 (@SupremoD028) September 21, 2023
Saan ba galing ang CCTV?
Marites lang ang dating niyo pag hindi niyo pa yan nakasuhan.
— Komiks13 🇵🇭🤙🏽 (@Komiks13) September 21, 2023
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is currently investigating an OTS screener accused of stealing $300 in $100 bills from a departing Chinese passenger at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The allegations came to light after CCTV footage captured the screener allegedly swallowing the stolen money.
DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista expressed his disappointment and assured the public that appropriate sanctions would be imposed on the screener once the investigation concludes.
“I am saddened and very disappointed by such embarrassing deeds,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has taken action in response to the incident. The screener and her supervisor have been suspended, and her seasonal access pass has been confiscated pending the investigation’s outcome. Notably, the MIAA had previously banned pockets for OTS personnel in response to earlier cases of passenger theft.
The CCTV footage revealed that the alleged theft occurred around 8:20 p.m. on September 8 when the Chinese passenger, known as Mr. Cai, placed his shoulder bag on the inspection tray at the final security checkpoint. As Mr. Cai passed through the body scanner, the screener conducted a manual search of his bag on the inspection table.
According to the MIAA’s report, the screener’s actions raised suspicion as she turned away, seemingly holding something in her left hand with a tightly closed fist. She then swiftly concealed an item in her waist area before returning to the inspection table.
Upon discovering that his wallet was open and money missing, Mr. Cai returned to the screening area and voiced his complaint. The passenger confronted the screener, who subsequently turned her back on him. Another CCTV camera captured her alleged act of swallowing the dollar bills, which had been folded into a small piece. She used a handkerchief to cover her mouth during this act.
Despite being offered a bottle of water by a colleague, the screener struggled to swallow the bills. Her supervisor approached her, seemingly communicating with her, as she experienced difficulty swallowing the money, presumably to ensure there was no evidence left behind, as reported by the MIAA.
It is noteworthy that Mr. Cai has declined to press charges against the screener. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.