THE Philippine Center for Aviation Security (PCAS 7), a police unit in charge with security matters at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIAA) has been hounded with controversies recently.

First, they let go of a Norwegian national who was arrested for smuggling an unlicensed firearm. They did file charges against the foreigner but they allowed him to leave the country, a highly questionable move.

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Second, police and airport personnel were outsmarted by a 12-year-old boy from the Parian Drop-in Center who boarded a plane without a ticket despite the tight airport security checks.

Then on March 2, Annabeth Quizon, who was leaving for Doha, Qatar on board Qatar Airways, lost her cell phone at the passenger x-ray area. Ms. Quizon put her Samsung touch screen S5233 unit at the final x-ray checking area manned by police aviation personnel. She forgot to retrieve the phone as she walked to the pre-departure area.

Upon noticing that she had left her phone, she went back to the x-ray area and asked PO2 Brian Cinco, who was on duty at the time, about it. But he denied knowledge about the missing phone. An argument between the two followed.

Not wanting to prolong the argument, Quizon went to the operator of the security camera and asked if she can view the footage of her at the final security check area. The footage showed Cinco taking the cell phone. She did not bother to confront Cinco again as it was boarding time.

Last week, Supt. Joselito Salido, PCAS 7 director, informed Qatar Airways people that the missing phone was recovered by airport policeman Erwin Amodia. Salido said Amodia told him that a passenger from Qatar turned over the unit to him. Salido subsequently turned over the phone to Qatar Airways office. Ms. Quizon claimed it last Monday.

Now which version of the incident would you believe? For me, the footage was the best evidence. Cinco may not be able to escape responsibility for the missing item. It’s possible he intentionally kept the phone when it was left by the owner. Then, bothered by his conscience or perhaps pressured by his superiors, he returned it as face-saving measure using Amodia.

If this is true, then this is dishonesty to the highest degree. Cinco should be criminally and administratively charged if there is enough basis for it. Salido, in my radio interview, said he already conducted an investigation on the matter and relieved Cinco from his post. He also assured the public that he will not tolerate such shenanigans.

Huwag lang hanggang salita, sir. Gawin mo na.

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph/bgnalzaro@gmanetwork.com)