Alan Cayetano files complaint vs transpo officials over laglag-bala

MANILA, Philippines – Senator and vice presidential candidate Alan Peter Cayetano filed a complaint for an administrative case against airport and transportation officials over the laglag-bala modus operandi victimizing airport passengers.

The lawmaker lodged the complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on Tuesday, November 3. He was accompanied by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founder Dante Jimenez.

The complaint seeks a preventive suspension order against:

Cayetano said that these officials are administratively liable for the tanim-bala (planting of bullets) incidents due to the principle of “command responsibility,” which was institutionalized by Executive Order 226 signed by President Fidel Ramos.

“Under the EO, if you know a crime is happening or has happened and you know it is your personnel that are doing the crime yet you did not implement any preventive, corrective measure, you are liable administratively,” Cayetano told media.

A look at the EO shows that officials are to be held accountable for “neglect of duty” if they fulfill the 3 requirements: 

Decisive action needed

Cayetano says this is his counterpart action to the “decisive” steps taken by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Sa Davao City, nagdagdag kaagad ng police, nagbigay ng leaflets, at 'yung mayor mismo dun, si Mayor Duterte, ang nagsabing akong in charge dito,” said Cayetano.

(In Davao City, they immediately added police, gave out leaflets, Mayor Duterte himself said he was in charge.)

He compared this to the slow action on the part of the national government.

Dito sa atin, parang may denial pa. Ibig sabihin ayaw pang tanggapin ng gobyerno na may problema pa,” said Cayetano. (Here it seems there is still denial. This means the government still can’t accept there is a problem.)

Though cases reported by media are being investigated already, he said it took government a month before tackling the issue on the level of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

His complaint was limited to an administrative case because there is no law declaring “neglect of duty” a crime. Such a law deserves the attention of Congress, he said.

The laglag-bala or tanim-bala scam allegedly involves airport personnel planting bullets in the luggage of departing and arriving passengers in order to extort from them. 

The scheme has reportedly been in operation for many years now with some incidents traced as far back as 2008. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at