The Department of Justice (DOJ) will dismiss complaints against airport security officers charged in a bullet planting case involving American Lane Michael White.
The case involved the obvious scam against Lane Michael White and his mother Eloisa Zoleta. The officers involved included Maria Elena Cena and Marvin Garcia, of the Transportation Security Office.
The DOJ said there was insufficient evidence presented by White and his mother against the officers. The [clearly guilty] pair had been charged for robbery/extortion in violation of Republic Act 7438 and RA 3019.
The DOJ also noted that the evidence against Rolando A Clarin, Adriano Junio, Ramon Bernardo, and Romy Navarro of the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group, was also insufficient to proceed to trial. All officers were being charged for violation of Article V, Section 38 (Liability for Planting Evidence) of RA 10591. The group was also facing charges of robbery/extortion, and violation of RA 7438 and RA 3019.
In an 11-page resolution, the Department of Justice said that while it believed the .22 cal. bullet found inside White’s luggage was not his, there was no evidence to determine who ‘planted’ it.
The resolution went on to say: “We believe complainant White that the .22-caliber ammunition found inside his luggage is not his. In fact, [Regional Trial Court] Pasay already dismissed the case against him for illegal possession of ammunition. However, we cannot say with certainty that it was respondents Cena and Garcia who inserted or placed the ammunition inside complainant’s luggage… there is a high probability that the ammunition was placed by another person, a stranger to this case.”
The Department of Justice noted in their findings that White and his mother were accommodated by their airline in a hotel for an overnight stay when their original flight was cancelled.
The DOJ went on to say that the luggage was left with the valet during their hotel stay… And that “the likelihood that the ammunition was planted during such time when the luggage was unattended is not remote.”
The DOJ also said that there was no proof that four officers attempted or tried to extort money from White for the offence.
In their counter-affidavits, the officers pointed out that they ‘merely informed’ the American of the fine, provided by law, that he had to pay for violation of such law.
“We do not find probable cause to respondents for all the cases filed against them,” the DOJ ruled.
White originally claimed to have been victimised by airport security on the bullet-planting scheme at Manila’s NAIA airport.
White said airport officers attempted to extort 30,000 pesos for the non-filing of charges against him.
The bare-faced and utterly transparent ‘tanim-bala’ bullet scam has turned the Philippines into a global laughing stock, with Fox News calling the Philippines, “The lamest country on the planet”.
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