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‘Tanim-bala’ airport staff cleared

The Department of Justice has dismissed the cases filed against policemen and security personnel of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport allegedly involved in the “tanim-bala” (bullet planting) incident involving an American missionary last September.

In a resolution, Associate Prosecution Attorney II Honey Rose Delgado recommended the dismissal of the cases against airport baggage inspector Maria Cena, X-ray operator Marvin Garcia, and Chief Insp. Adriano Junio, SPO4 Ramon Bernardo, SPO2 Rolando Clarin, and SPO2 Romy Navarro.

Cena and Garcia were accused of planting of evidence, while, Junio, Bernardo, Clarin, and Navarro were accused of robbery and extortion.

The policemen, including Navarro, were also charged of violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Republic Act 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained, or Under Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of Arresting, Detaining, and Investigating Officers).

“We do not find probable cause to indict respondents for all the cases filed against them,” Delgado said in the resolution.

The cases stemmed from the accusations of American missionary Lane Michael White, 20, that he was asked to pay P30,000 by the policemen in exchange for dropping the charges against him after a bullet was found in his luggage at the NAIA while he and his family were about to board a flight to Coron, Palawan. (Jeffrey G. Damicog)