MANILA, Philippines – A retired trial court judge has claimed falling victim, not to the ‘laglag-bala’ or ‘tanim-bala’ modus, but to another scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) just recently, Manila Bulletin reports.
Retired Cavite Regional Trial Court judge, Manuel Mayo, called it the ‘now you see, now you don’t’scam; a sort of ‘magic’ at the airport he couldn’t believe he would be witnessing, too.
Now you see
According to Mayo’s Facebook post, his Omega wristwatch made a mysterious ‘disappearing act’ during a scanning procedure at the airport last September 3, 2015. He was travelling then with his wife to New York.
Mayo recalled arriving at the airport around 12:45 pm, which is quite early for their scheduled flight.
“As is the usual and required procedure, you remove your belt, jacket, and shoes and place them in a tray. Take out the keys and coins from your pocket, the laptop from the bag and take off the wristwatch you are wearing,” Mayo narrated.
“I did all these, except that instead of putting my watch into the tray, I placed it in the side pocket of my backpack which I could zip for security instead of being exposed in the open tray,” the retired judge said.
Now you don’t
His items, including the backpack in which he kept his watch, went through the x-ray machine without any glitch. No alarm went off either when he himself went through the security scanner.
“After taking my shoes, jacket, laptop from the tray and bag and backpack off the trolley, I proceeded to the nearby seats. As I was lacing my belt and getting my watch, an Omega, it was no longer in the side pocket of the backpack where I placed it (for my convenience and safety),” Mayo wrote.
Alarmed, Mayo went back immediately to the person supervising the scanning machine and complained about the missing watch.
But the person said the Omega watch was right inside Mayo’s backpack and even urged the judge to put the bag through the machine again to prove it was not missing.
However, when the backpack passed through the machine, the monitor showed a different squared-face watch on the monitor. Mayo insisted it was not the Omega watch he was looking for, but the other piece which he also brought.
“That is not the one I am missing. What is missing is one with a round dial because I had two other watches in the bag,” he supposedly told the person.
Now you see again
The scanning personnel then urged him to go through the backpack again and check all the pockets; to no avail. It was indeed missing.
But when Mayo was starting to get agitated, the person asked to take him to the central office so he could file a complaint. The man also volunteered to check Mayo’s backpack.
“He (airport scanner) did rifle through the contents inside the backpack and, wonder of wonders, he found the watch and showed it to me. Milagro! (Miracle!) The watch, which had earlier vanished into thin air, had suddenly materialized in his hand!” he narrated.
The retired judge said it was to his advantage that they decided to come to the airport earlier; otherwise, he would not have enough time to complain.
“Laglag-bala victims’ claims are true
He also believes the claims of some the victims of bullet-planting at NAIA are true; having witnessed personally how anyone could easily fall prey to the unscrupulous scumbags at the airport.
“I am willing to attest to the foregoing. If my watch could vanish in the manner it did then, it is totally possible and credible that a bullet could suddenly appear in your bag after it goes through that X-ray machine,” Mayo said.
“It is the case of the bullet appearing in your hand carried bag (tanim-bala) and the wristwatch disappearing from my backpack after passing through the X-ray scanner. I find the elderly victims of the tanim-bala scam at NAIA to be credible witnesses and their accounts credible as well,” he added.