Lady atty experiences tanim-bala


After a whirlwind of appointments, I finally have time to pause and post about a terrible ordeal my ten-month old baby, our nanny and I suffered in the hands of Tuguegarao airport personnel yesterday, July 15.

My whole family was booked to fly to Manila. We checked in without incident. My husband Joel stepped outside to withdraw some cash from the ATM machine, so Baby Riel, our nanny Ate Sonia and I went ahead towards the boarding area.

I was carrying Riel, while Ate Sonia took care of our three carry-on luggage — Joel’s black backpack, Riel’s brown bag, and Ate Sonia’s floral backpack. As we approached the x-ray machine for luggage security check, a male personnel greeted me. He said we’ve met and conversed in earlier occasions. He was friendly and assisted in placing our luggage in the x-ray machine.

As we were picking up our luggage on the other side of the x-ray machine, the personnel in front of the monitor motioned for me to stop. Both personnel indicated that they saw something, motioning towards the screen. Surprised, Baby Riel and I went to look at the image they were pointing at on the screen. To my horror, I saw something in the shape of a bullet.

Despite my shock and fear and feeling of vulnerability because I was holding my ten-month old son, in a split-second I was able to note several things. First, the image in the shape of a bullet was very black, with a sharp, vivid outline, compared to the other things on screen which were pastel-colored and had very blurred edges. Second, the image of the bullet was beside the image of Riel’s thermometer, so that my first thought was, ‘It’s beside Baby Riel’s thermometer in the brown bag!’

Very curiously though, the airport personnel pointed to Ate Sonia’s floral backpack. They said ‘Buksan natin, hanapin natin dyan!’ They made Ate Sonia open the floral backpack and empty the contents. Poor Ate Sonia was protesting vehemently and saying, ‘Alla Sir awan ti no ania man ditoy!’ Inukag-ukag na aminen, and even I put my right hand in the outer pocket of the backpack and felt nothing.

The friendly airport guy kept insisting ‘Adda dita, adda dita!’ After Ate Sonia and I searched the inside and outer pocket of the floral backpack and found nothing, the guy, in exasperation, put his right hand inside the outer pocket of the backpack and exclaimed, “Dadtoy ne!” When he pulled out his hand and opened it, there was suddenly a long, single bullet on his palm!

Ate Sonia was deathly white, while I was at a loss for words. (But so proud of my Baby Riel — he was calm and unperturbed!)

Thoughts raced in my head: The image of the bullet was beside the image of the thermometer in Riel’s brown bag, but why was the bullet found in the floral backpack? We never even opened Riel’s brown bag! Also, the man put his own hand inside the bag and ‘found’ the bullet, when Ate Sonia and I searched and felt every inch of the same bag and found nothing.

In the meantime, while all this commotion was happening, three or four policemen in uniform were lounging in chairs five feet from where we were. They never reacted or approached to ask what was happening. They were very nonchalant.

The airport guy turned to me and said, ‘Ma’am, aware po ba kayo sa mga ganito na dala?’ Indignant, I snapped, ‘Saan, awan ti kasta mi, my God I’m with my baby I would never bring anything like that!’ The guy persisted, ‘Ket dagiti kakadua yo? Baka an-anib ni baby.’ I snapped again, ‘Saan kami mamati ti kaskasta!’Then the guy said, ‘Ma’am, ayusin na natin, gawin na natin off the record.’ He looked at me expectantly.

My suspicion was confirmed. We are the victims of tanim-bala, and the guy was asking for bribe money, no doubt about it. My God.

Holding my baby close, I maintained my composure and said quite amicably, ‘Nasa labas pa ang mister ko, kakausapin ka niya.’

They let us go. In the boarding area, I called up Joel and told him what happened. He was incensed.

When finally my husband joined us, I asked him if he talked to the airport guy. Joel narrated that the guy was the one who approached him and asked, ‘Kayo po ba ang kasama ni..’

Joel said curtly, ‘Oo ako ang kasama. Itigil ‘nyo na ang kalokohan ‘nyo, masama ‘yan!’

That’s my gem of a husband!

The guy replied, ‘Wala na po, ayos na po.’


We decided that we are going to report this straight to DOTR Sec. Art Tugade and CAAP. This practice has to stop.

I am also posting this because I feel so bad. We were played for fools. And the whole time this was happening, I was holding my baby. Evil was unfolding in front of my baby. Saan ko naiturturog. I feel sick in the stomach.

Please share far and wide, and let all Cagayanos be warned!