Lawmaker: MIAA officials should be sacked over airport ambush

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Monday, December 23, 2013

A MEMBER of the House of Representatives called Monday for the sacking of concerned officials of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) after a bloody ambush at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 last week.

Ukol Talumpa, mayor of Labangan town, Zamboanga del Sur province, his wife, and two others were shot dead as they stepped out of the arrival area of NAIA Terminal 3 last Friday.

No closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed at the ambush site, according to airport authorities.

"Someone should be held liable. A thorough investigation should be made with regard to the lack of security, which MIAA authorities should have strictly implemented and the lack of crime mitigation measures, which the CCTV cameras and additional security personnel should have provided," Marikina City Representative Marcelino Teodoro, a member of the House committee on public order and safety, said.

MIAA is headed by general manager Jose Honrado.

The incident, Teodoro added, "is a sign of the lack of peace and order" at the Manila airport, which caters to millions of passengers every day.

Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said Congress should investigate how MIAA officials spend their funds citing the lack of CCTV cameras outside of the airport's terminal building.

"It's saddening to know that our premier airport doesn't have the sufficient CCTV cameras to function effectively and deter crimes... We will exercise the oversight of Congress to the fullest. What did they make with their budget?" Castelo asked.

Antipolo City Representative Romeo Acop, a former police official, however did not want to pin the blame on the MIAA, saying that the assassination could have happened anywhere.

"While there are lapses in security precautions on the part of the NAIA management, we know too well that a victim/target has no chance against a determined assassin. It could have happened anywhere," he said.

Meanwhile Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a text message that the suspects have already been identified by the Task Force Talumpa of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

While the identity of the suspects cannot be disclosed, according to the information gathered by the NBI, the Afdal-Nandang-Malaco drug trafficking group was allegedly involved in drug trafficking activities and, for years, the group enjoyed the protection of some politicians in Mindanao until some of them also decided to enter politics.

Talumpa defeated then Labangan mayor Wilson Nandang during the May 2013 elections. Nandang eventually filed an election protest with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Prior to the NAIA incident, Talumpa survived two killing attempts, the latest was in September 2012. (with reports from Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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