Friday, September 22, 2023
An airport security officer from the Philippines' Office of Transportation Security (OTS) is under investigation for allegedly stealing $300 from a passenger by reportedly swallowing the cash.
The incident occurred at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, prompting authorities to scrutinise the case.
According to reports, the female security officer was responsible for manually inspecting the passenger's bag while the traveller proceeded through an X-ray scanner. Surveillance footage from September 8 revealed the officer diverting her attention while placing an object into her waist area.
The airport's report noted that the officer operating the X-ray machine was observed passing a bottle of water to the screening officer, who then attempted to swallow the folded dollar bills deliberately.
The report stated that the officer was "clearly seen deliberately swallowing the dollar bills, folded into one small piece," even ignoring a passing passenger who tried to engage her in conversation. She appeared to struggle to swallow the bills despite consuming the bottled water earlier.
Supervisors approached the screening officer, who was reportedly almost choking while trying to ingest the money and using her handkerchief to cover her mouth. The OTS confirmed the identity of the security officer and initiated a fact-finding investigation in response to the allegations of theft.
In a statement, the OTS emphasised that the incident does not align with the "code of conduct for civil servants, much more of the core values." OTS Administrator Undersecretary Ma. O Aplasca encouraged individuals to report any illegal activities involving OTS personnel.
Following the initial theft report at the security screening point, security measures, such as removing jackets and searching pockets of security officers' uniforms, were implemented.
The staff members involved in the incident were promptly terminated, and prosecuted, and their actions were publicly disclosed, according to Mr Aplasca.
The incident's surveillance footage has gained attention on social media platforms like Reddit, where users have shared their thoughts on the incident, some humorously referencing the concept of "money being filthy" and critiquing the alleged thief's technique and timing.