A teenage student is one of the recent victims of the alleged tanim bala or bullet planting scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Only this time, she was released after airport police replaced the bullet found inside her bag with a different one.
Choir conductor of Los Cantates de Manila said this is what happened to one of his members, a 19-year-old named Rachel on October 14.
Vargas said that 25 members of his choir were on their way to an international competition in Busan, South Korea when NAIA Terminal 3 personnel discovered the bullet inside Rachel’s sling bag.
Most of the choir, including himself, were already at the boarding gate when a female airport screener discovered the bullet during the second X-ray screening. He instructed the other girls to immediately board the plane to help Rachel.
The police said that they will not allow Rachel to board the plane because she is under investigation.
In the end, Rachel was unable to board the plane and join the rest of the choir for the competition.
Vargas said that according to Rachel, there was another singer who had her bag screened several times. The girl who had her bag screened several times was allowed to board the plane.
While Rachel’s mom believed in amulets, the amulet she used was made of beads and was always pinned to her dress.
Another man who was presumed to be a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team approached the uproar and brought the teenager to the airport police desk.
The airport police asked Rachel to sign a certain document that she was not able to read well due to nervousness. She, however, managed to take a photo of the bullet found inside her bag so she could show the picture to her mother.
Rachel was finally released only after airport police replaced the first allegedly live bullet with a smaller, empty one.
By then, Rachel was left behind by her fellow choir members.
Vargas said that the police told Rachel that even if they can release her, she would not be allowed to board the flight because the police are not in good terms with NAIA’s security guards.
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When Rachel was released, police allegedly remarked that the security guards should be slapped following the incident.
Meanwhile, the SWAT member stayed with Rachel until her mother’s arrival. Rachel had to book another flight with her own money to catch up with the other choir members.
Vargas expressed disappointment over how their hard-earned money was wasted on Rachel’s first flight booking.
Despite the setback, Los Cantates de Manila won the grand prize in the international competition.