Airport security and rules ‘cannot be tailored for certain people’

October 2, 2018 - 5:11 PM
Members of the Office for Transportation Security in a meeting on the National Transportation Security Programme for Maritime Transportation. (OTS/Released)

Congressman Aniceto Bertiz III might be sanctioned under the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 6235 for refusing to follow airport security protocol, the Office for Transportation Security said as they condemned the “caprices of certain people.”

According to OTS Administrator Undersecretary Arturo Evangelista, rules and regulations must be adhered to by everyone when it comes to safety and security measures.

“We have to understand that the rules and regulations set in our airports cannot be swayed to accommodate the call of situation and much more to tailor itself to the caprices of certain people,” he said in a statement.

“We know how complex and frustrating airport security can be at times, but security screening is ultimately the basic and paramount rule to which all airport passengers and users must conform to before they will be allowed access to the aircraft,” Evangelista said.

OTS stressed that Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code prohibits anyone from disobeying and resisting an authority figure or any similar person engaged in official duties. Violators may be fined for up to P500.

Furthermore, Bertiz might be sanctioned for refusing to undergo the routine security check as required for passengers under Section 9 of RA 6235. It states:

“Holder hereof (of ticket) and his hand-carried luggage(s) are subject to search for, and seizure of, prohibited materials or substances. Holder refusing to be searched shall not be allowed to board the aircraft.”

OTS added that they denounced the lawmaker’s actions since it was a “blatant disregard of security protocols” that may possibly affect the establishment’s security condition.

‘Hindi mo ba ako kilala?’ 

Bertiz’s actions echo two similar incidents that involved public officials and their refusal to adhere to certain protocols.

Last year, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam caused a commotion in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s VIP lounge.

She was bound for a flight in Masbate when a member of the NAIA Airport Police Department recommended she settle in the terminal’s VIP lounge.

PCSO director Sandra Cam gets emotional during the Senate inquiry on the proposed reforms to the state lottery agency. (Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo)

Cam said that she was escorted since the police considered her a “high-risk” person. As protocol, the NAIA employee in the VIP lounge asked for her government ID. The PCSO board member didn’t have one, prompting the employee to explain the terms of using the VIP lounge.

She was then asked to fill out a “meet and assist form” and pay for the charges. Cam questioned the whole process and demanded to see the manager.

However, the manager claimed that non-government officials who use the VIP lounge are supposed to pay certain charges.

Five years ago, another public official got involved in a similar incident. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay allegedly ordered the Makati police to arrest three security personnel of Dasmariñas Village for restricting his convoy from exiting a village gate.

Apparently, they were not permitted to do so since it was used as an entrance gate. Binay stepped out from his car as a result and shouted at the security personnel in Filipino, “Don’t you know me?” They eventually exited the same gate after 15 minutes when the Makati police arrived.