OTS personnel chided for alleged stealing of passenger’s smartwatch

March 2, 2023 - 2:57 PM
An undated picture of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. (Photo from Philippine News Agency)

“Wala ba kayong konsensya?”

The administrator of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) berated one of their personnel who was caught allegedly stealing a smartwatch from a Chinese passenger at the airport.

OTS administrator Ma. O Aplasca on Wednesday approached 31-year-old OTS screening security officer Valeriano Ricaplaza Jr. of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 who was arrested for the crime.

Aplasca said the incident happened around 2 a.m. in the security screening area.

Reports said that Chinese citizen Sun Yuhong placed his smartwatch in a tray and then subjected it to be screened through an x-ray machine.

When he retrieved the tray, his smartwatch could no longer be seen. This prompted him to approach the airport officials who reviewed the CCTV footage near the screening area.

The video showed that the smartwatch was left in the tray, which was then allegedly covered with another tray by Ricaplaza. The latter then pocketed the gadget.

The screening security officer was then arrested by the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group.

However, Ricaplaza denied this by claiming that the smartwatch was not found after his colleagues checked him.

Aplasca approached him in jail where he scolded the OTS personnel for putting the agency and the country to “shame.”

“Bakit mo naman nagawa ‘yon?” the OTS administrator said in a video uploaded by GMA News on Facebook on March 1.

“Alam mo, ‘di ba, na nag-i-imbestiga pa tayo dun sa ninakawan ng pera?” Aplasca added.

“Ganyan ba ang turo sa inyo sa training?” he continued. “Gaano ka na katagal na SS dito?” “SS” refers to security screening.

Ricaplaza said that he was “sorry” and added he had just gotten the job last July.

“O, eh, ano tinuro? ‘Yan ba tinuro sa training? So hanggang ngayon, tinatanggi mo pa rin? Kitang-kita na nga sa ano eh, sa CCTV, na ikaw ang kumuha, tatanggi mo pa rin? Panagutan mo ‘yang ginawa mo,” Aplasca said.

“Grabeng kahihiyan inabot natin, hindi lang ng OTS, sa buong bansa na tayo. Nakakahiya na tayo sa buong mundo. Ganoon pala ang effort natin na nawawala ang gamit pagka tayo ang dumaan. ‘Di ba, hindi maganda,” he added.

“Hirap na hirap na nga ‘yung ating presidente para mag-promote ng ating bansa para magpunta dito ‘yung mga turistang investor tapos sinisira lang natin? Hind ba kayo nakonsensiya? Bakit, wala ba kayong sweldo?” Aplasca continued.

“Hindi ko maisip kung bakit kaya niyong ginagawa ‘yung mga ganyan. Sana magtanda kayo, ha. Harapin mo ‘tong kaso na ito,” he further said.

The incident came days after five OTS personnel were suspended following a viral video where they were spotted pocketing 20,000 yen or about P8,000 from a departing Thai national at the checkpoint of NAIA Terminal 2 on February 22.

They handed back the money after pleading for him to delete the video.

Aplasca said four of them were job order personnel hired last year, while the other was a contractual employee who had been working with them for five years.

“This illegal act will not be tolerated. We will apply the full force of the law to penalize corrupt OTS officers as we send a strong message that we are serious in cleansing our ranks,” he said before.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) also denounced the theft incidents and said it would install additional CCTVs at the NAIA terminals.

“We condemn such unscrupulous acts, which smear the trust and integrity required of public servants. These actions have negative consequences for the airport, its stakeholders, and the country as a whole,” MIAA general manager Cesar Chiong said.

Last July, 14 OTS personnel were dismissed from their positions, while three others were suspended. Six cases remain under investigation conducted by the agency’s legal department.

The cases ranged from violation of the OTS’ “no tipping” policy, improper disposal of intercepted prohibited items, extortion, rude behavior, and the use of mobile phones while on duty.