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Guard who returned mayor’s bag with P1.4m cash commended by airport GM

Albert L. Bautista
MIAA GM Cesar Chiong commends airport guard Bautista for his vigilance and honesty, after returning a bag containing P1.4 million cash. (JERRY S. TAN)

“Kaming lahat po dito sa MIAA, we appreciate very much your worthy contribution to promote NAIA as a safe and secured gateway to the Philippines.”

Thus said Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Cesar Chiong, as he presented with a commendation aviation security guard Albert L. Bautista during a simple awarding ceremony held at the MIAA grounds on Tuesday, for his display of honesty when he found and returned last January 4, 2023, a bag containing P1.4 million and which belonged to Mayor Hanie Bud of Maluso, Basilan.

Maraming, maraming salamat po. Proud na proud kami sa iyo,” GM Chiong said, after handing over the certificate of commendation to AVSEC Bautista.

On said date, Bautista found a blue trolley bag left in one of the gangchairs between Bay 8 and 9 at the domestic arrival area of the NAIA Terminal 2. Thinking that the bag might contain valuables, he immediately sought the assistance of the Airport Police officer-on-duty and the paging section, to call the attention of the owne but sespite numerous public announcements, no one came forward to claim the bag.

As part of security protocols, the area was cordoned-off and the Philippine National Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal and Canine Group (PNP-EOD/K9 Group) came to conduct inspection and later cleared the baggage of any explosive elements.

During the inventory that followed, the bag was found to contain P1.4 million in cash, personal effects and identification cards of Mayor Bud so that the Airport Police tried to reach him through his available contact details.

Later on, In his Facebook account, the mayor stated ““On my way, my wife called me saying that someone from the NAIA Terminal 2 informed her that I left my luggage in the waiting area. I was shocked. Maybe because I had so much in mind, I forgot my luggage which contains important things I needed. So, I immediately rushed back to the airport since no one is allowed to claim it but myself.”

The said post gained positive reactions expressing appreciation to Bautista for his good deed.

In receiving the commendation, Bautista, meantime, issued a message to his co-workers at the NAIA: “Huwag po natin pag interasan ang mga bagay na napupulot natin. Tiyak po na makakapagbigay po tayo ng kasiyahan sa taong may-ari kung maibabalik po natin ito sa kanila.”

MIAA’s public affairs office chief Connie Bungag said that Bautista has been an AVSEC for 12 years and had previously surrendered numerous items to the Lost and Found Section of the MIAA, the last one of which was in 2017.

This is the first time however, that he recovered such a huge amount of cash, said Bungag.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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