APEC party-list congressman briefly held at NAIA over bomb joke

Mara Cepeda

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APEC party-list congressman briefly held at NAIA over bomb joke
Cracking bomb jokes inside the airport is prohibited by law, punishable by prison time of up to 5 years or a maximum fine of P40,000

MANILA, Philippines – A neophyte party-list congressman was briefly held by airport security for allegedly making a bomb joke at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.  

Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) Representative Sergio Dagooc cracked the bomb joke while he was checking in for a flight to Cagayan on Thursday afternoon, July 25, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) Aviation Station 2 chief Police Major Querico Tomotorgo. 

In a phone interview with Rappler on Friday, July 26, Tomotorgo said Dagooc arrived at NAIA at about 2:30 pm on Thursday and checked in at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) counter, where his hand carry bag was weighed.

PAL passenger service agent Pearl May Lansang pointed out that the congressman’s hand carry baggage weighed 11 kilograms, exceeding the 7-kilogram maximum weight allowed for that type of luggage.

Lansang suggested that Dagooc check in his baggage, then asked the congressman what was inside his bag. This was when Dagooc joked that his bag supposedly contained a bomb.

“Tinanong siya ni Ms Lansang kung anong lamang ng bag na ‘yon. Ang sabi ni Congressman Dagooc, damit. So nag-follow-up question si Ma’am Lansang, ‘Other than that, ano pa ang laman?’ So ‘yon, sabi ni congressman, ‘Bomba.’ Tagalog po,” said Tomotorgo.

(Ms Lansang asked what’s inside his bag, Congressman Dagooc said it contained clothes. So Ma’am Lansang asked a follow-up question, ‘Other than that, what else is inside?’ So that’s when the congressman said, ‘Bomb.’ He said it in Tagalog.)

Cracking bomb jokes inside the airport is prohibited under Presidential Decree No. 1727. The act is punishable by prison time of up to 5 years or a fine of not more than P40,000, or both.

Lansang immediately called PAL’s supervisor and security commander, who then brought Dagooc to the PNP Aviation Station 2’s office inside NAIA.

Tomotorgo, however, said Dagooc’s lawyer later arrived and invoked Section 11, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which says no lawmaker may be arrested for committing offenses punishable by not more than 6 years while Congress is in session. 

Tomotorgo said this was why Dagooc was released from airport security custody on Thursday night. But the police aviation station chief said PAL would still file a case against the APEC congressman.  

“Ang complainant ang PAL, na nakausap po namin kanina ‘yong kanyang legal counsel. Idi-discuss nila kung kailan magfa-file ng kaso,” he said.

(We have spoken to PAL, the complainant, earlier and their legal counsel. They said they will still discuss when to file the case.) 

Rappler already reached out to Dagooc for comment, but he had yet to issue an official statements as of posting.  

Dagooc is the second newbie party-list congressman to be in the spotlight for a brush with the law. Ang Probinsyano Representative Alfred delos Santos earlier drew flak for attempting to punch a waiter in a restaurant in Legazpi City, but he had since apologized to the waiter and the public for his behavior. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.