MANILA -- An airport customs official is facing charges for asking a woman for cash to let her smuggle jewelry out of the country.

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered charges of Robbery (Extortion) against Ethelia Bernas, a customs flight supervisor at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

Melinda Mendoza, who filed the complaint against Bernas, said she was stopped by Naia customs officials in July 2005 when they found jewelry worth P80,000 in her luggage.

Mendoza related Bernas told her she could not take the jewelry with her to Canada without an export permit.

Bernas instead asked for P40,000 to let Mendoza bring the jewelry with her to Canada. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)