Duterte to “laglag-bala” extortionists: swallow the bullet

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 November) — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte warned the police that he will them swallow bullets if he finds out they are involved in the “laglag bala” extortion scheme.

The mayor issued the stern warning during his program “Gikan sa Masa, para sa Masa” on Sunday after Engr. Augusto Dagan Y. Dorde, 60, of the Pasig City-based JV Angeles Construction Corporation was arrested Friday morning at the F. Bangoy International Airport for reportedly bringing two pieces of live ammunition in his baggage.

“Ako wala mangambisyon, pero ako ma-presidente ipatulon gyud nako ng bala sa inyo” (I have no ambition to be one but if I become President I will let you swallow the bullet),” Duterte addressed those who are planting bullets in passengers’ bags.

Duterte said that as a former prosecutor, he finds it questionable that so many passengers have been found with bullets in their bags in NAIA but without firearms.

He recalled that “laglag-bala” has been going on for two to three years now and that many have been arrested but released immediately after negotiations.

Duterte urged President Benigno Aquino III to look into the matter seriously, as a syndicate could be behind the extortion scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

He also urged prosecutors in Davao City to “better study the matter very carefully,” noting that Dorde was here in the city to attend a conference about a water project.

Dorde was scheduled to leave for Manila on board PAL flight PR 1814 at 11:40 a.m. Friday when arrested. Security screening officer Arrel Mark Villareal reportedly noticed on the monitor an image of bullets in his luggage and immediately called PO3 Glenn Jay F. Galon who arrested the suspect for violating Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1866, as amended by RA 8294, for illegal possession of ammunition.

Dorde was detained at the Sasa Police Station but was released hours later after posting bail.

Chief Insp. Eugene Balugo, chief of the F. Bangoy International Airport’s Police Station and PNP (Philippine National Police) Aviation Security Unit 11 on Friday said they are “constantly conducting background check on all our personnel working here as well as the PNP personnel and so far we have no such case (of “laglag-bala”) here at the Davao airport.”

In his weekly TV show, Duterte said he is “known to protect policemen who are in trouble sa performance of duty or duty-connected” and that he attends to their needs but warned them to “just pray nga dili na tinuod (that that is not true)” that the “laglag-bala” syndicate is also operating in Davao City.

He said he hopes the case of Dorde be investigated thoroughly and that if that the group behind “laglag-bala” is operating in the city, “you better stop it.”

“I know the PNP is conducting an investigation . I hope that it will exonerate you,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)