MANILAManila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said he did not see any evidence on ACTS-OFW Party-list Rep. John Bertiz's claim that there were Chinese-looking passengers escorted by "NAIA staff" who did not undergo proper security check.
In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Monreal said he reviewed two footages of closed circuit television (CCTV)one from the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), and another from the MIAA's surveillance camera.
"I watched the footage 20 minutes prior to the incident, and I've seen no Chinese-looking persons were assisted," Monreal said.
He added that if Bertiz could show any evidence regarding his allegation, then they look into it especially because he claimed that those assisting were 'NAIA staff'.
On Sunday, a video showing Bertiz at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) went viral. The solon did not then remove his shoes, a part of airport security protocol.
When the security checker called Bertiz's attention, the congressman showed his ID.
Video also showed Bertiz had confronted the checker and confiscated the personnel's ID.
The incident happened on Saturday morning. Bertiz issued an apology on Sunday, but said he confronted the checker because there were Chinese-looking individuals ahead of him, who just passed through the security check and were assisted by "NAIA staff."
Issuance of ID, shoes removal
Monreal said that as a courtesy, MIAA issues IDs to congressmen, Philippine National Police officers, diplomatic corps, and those who provide security to the President.
"They are here as part of their duty," he said, adding that issuance of ID is also part of the International Civil Aviation Organization's security protocols.
He said MIAA only gives VIP treatment to the President, but clarified that the President does not ask for VIP treatment and even follows all the security protocols.
When asked if he would revoke Bertiz's ID, Monreal said that at present, he does not see a reason for it.
"We do not know what exactly had transpired, since these are only video footages. It would not be right to conclude something without hearing their voice, intonation, etc.," he explained.
Monreal also clarified that Bertiz does not have the right to confiscate the security personnel's ID.
With regard to the removal of shoes at the airport, it is indeed part of security measures, he added.
"In the past, there were incidences where shoes were used to slip drugs, knife, and other illegal materials. That's also why sometimes, passengers are being asked to remove their slippers," he explained.
Who will be held liable?
Bertiz allegedly questioned how the airport CCTV footage leaked.
"We are still investigating who is responsible and where it started," Monreal said, referring to the video, which he said is under the OTS. "We need to prove who gave the video and who shared it."
Asked if there needs to be a follow-up on Bertiz's case, Monreal said, "I leave it to other agencies or the legislative body." (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency