The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the criminal charges against two officials of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and four airport police officers. The case is in connection with the controversial ‘tanim-bala’ (bullet-planting) incident involving American missionary, Lane Michael White back in September 2015.
As mentioned in the 11-page DOJ resolution drafted by Associate Prosecution Attorney Honey Rose Delgado, there was no probable cause to file a criminal complaint against Maria Elma Cena and Marvin Garcia. Both of them are Office of Transportation Security (OTS) employees who work as airport baggage inspectors.
In addition, the DOJ noted the same remarks for SPO2 Rolando A. Clarin, P/CINSP Adriano Junio, SPO4 Ramon Bernardo, and SPO2 Romy Navarro of the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP). The justice department concluded that the evidence presented by the alleged ‘tanim-bala’ victim are insufficient.
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Nevertheless, the DOJ also believe that the 22-caliber ammunition that was found inside the luggage Lane Michael White is not his. This supports the earlier decision of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 119 last December 2015 to dismissed the illegal possession of ammunition charges filed against the US missionary.
Lane Michael White, along with his father Ryan and stepmother Eloisa Zoleta were held at NAIA Terminal 4 on September 17, 2015. The family was then on a missionary trip toCoron, Palawan. Released video footages showed that Cena and Marvin Garcia instructed Lance to place his luggage at the airport’s X-ray machine for several times.
Shortly, Lance was accused of having a bullet inside his luggage and was arrested. During the Senate hearing on the case, Zoleta said that the four airport police attempted to extort P30,000 in exhange of Lance’ freedom, and that it could reach to P80,000 if the case will reach the police headquarters. Nevertheless, they did not give money.
Lance was detained at the NAIA Terminal 1 aviation police facility, and was released after six days when the family posted a P40,000-bail. He returned to Los Angeles, California on December 14, 2015, immediatley after the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 119 allowed him to leave the Philippines, having a traumatic experience.