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Bullets in luggage again – this time at Davao airport

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A Manila-bound passenger was arrested Friday morning, October 30, inside the Francisco Bangoy International Airport here after two live bullets were found in his baggage.

The Aviation Security Command (Avsecom) identified the man as Augusto Dagan, 60, married, and a resident of 1980 Damacara Street in Quezon City.

Dagan was supposed to fly via Philippine Airlines flight PR 1814 bound for Manila at around 11:40 am.

When his luggage passed through the first X-ray machine at the first screening area, the bullets were allegedly detected.

"Davao airport premises is under the command and control of Avsecom, but the members of the regional mobile police was alerted about the presence of live ammunition and the arrest was done," Davao City Police Director Vicente Danao told Rappler.

Danao said security screening officer Arell Mark Villareal called Police Officer 3 Glenn Jay Galon, who then arrested the suspect for violation of Presidential Decree Number 1866, as amended by Republic Act 8294.

The said law penalizes “illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition, or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violation.”

Dagan was turned over to the Sasa Police Precinct, but reports said Dorde was released after posting bail. 

The incident in Davao happened after several similar cases were reported in the various terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila over the last few weeks.

The cases in Manila are widely believed to be a scam, with airport police and security personnel accused of framing up passengers so they could extort from them. The modus has since been called "laglag-bala" (dropping bullet into a bag) or "tanim-bala" (planting bullet into a bag). (READ: How to curb 'laglag-bala' modus and airport extortion)

At least 3 senators – Ralph Recto, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Alan Cayetano – have called for a Senate investigation into the incidents. Recto even proposed that a presidential action desk be set up at NAIA, so alleged victims can be assisted, but Malacañang said those help desks are already in place.

Accounts of the alleged scam have gone viral, angering the public and getting the attention of international media outlets, such as TIME and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Rappler.com