FIVE Office for Transportation Security (OTS) personnel were relieved from duty, placed under preventive suspension and will be facing appropriate charges after reportedly extorting money from a departing foreign national on February 22, 2023 have been relieved from duty and placed under preventive suspension.
“We would like to assure everyone that the OTS management will exhaust all available strategies to correct the lapses in our operations by nurturing a new culture of professionalism, integrity and commitment for public service,” said Usec Ma. O. Aplasca.
Vowing that concrete actions will be taken by the OTS against its erring personnel, Aplasca said: “They shall not only be dismissed from the service but shall also be put behind bars for their criminal acts that tarnish the reputation and integrity not only of OTS but the entire country in general. Our government has been trying to invite tourists and investors to come to the Philippines to pump prime the economy. But these corrupt OTS personnel are undermining and negating the gains of our efforts. This corrupt and illegal acts shall not be tolerated to send a strong message that we are serious in cleansing our ranks.”
The OTS action came after a report of extortion surfaced on social media involving five of its personnel —three job order and two contractual— assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
The viral video shows a departing foreign national requesting the Security Screening Officer (SSO) to return the money taken from him amounting to 20,000 yen or equivalent to more or less P8,000 which the latter was seen handing over to the passenger.
Immediately, Aplasca directed for immediate actions to be taken in order to identify the involved SSOs who were subsequently relieved from their duty and placed under preventive suspension, as OTS investigators are now preparing to file the appropriate administrative cases.
“We would also like to pursue the filing of criminal case against them and we will seek the cooperation of the victimized foreign nationals to expedite the filing of an airtight case. This illegal act will not be tolerated and we will apply the full force of the law to penalize the perpetrators,” said Aplasca.
It was learned that since July 2022, the OTS internal cleansing program has already resulted in the dismissal of 14 erring personnel. Another three were suspended, while six cases are now being resolved by the OTS Legal Service.
These cases range from violation of the OTS No Tipping Policy, violation in the proper disposal of intercepted prohibited items, extortion, rude behavior and use of mobile phone while on duty.