The Office for Transportation Security sacked five security screening personnel after a viral video caught them in the act of extorting foreign nationals.
Five Security Screening Officers (SSO) of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) were relieved of their posts and placed under preventive suspension for extortion, the OTS said today.
Kim Alyssa Marquez, OIC of OTS Public Affairs Division said the OTS received the extortion report that surfaced on social media involving five personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 Security Screening Checkpoint on February 22, 2023.
In a statement, the video footage
"purportedly 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 P8,000 which the latter was seen handling over to the passenger."
The OTS said it is preparing appropriate administrative charges against the five - three are job order staff and two are contractual personnel - and pursue the filing of criminal charges against them.
The government agency is also seeking the cooperation of the foreign nationals who were victims of extortion for the case filing.
"This illegal act will not be tolerated and we will apply the full force of the law to penalize the perpetrators. 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," the OTS said in a statement.
It added, "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."
According to Marquez, since July 2022, the OTS cleansing program resulted to the dismissal of 14 erring personnel, another three were suspended, while six cases remained under investigation by the OTS Legal Service.
These cases, Marquez said, 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.
"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," the statement added.
Tags: #extortion, #fiveotsrelieved, #surfacedonsocialmedia, #corruptandillegalacts, #cleansingotsranks