The “Laglag Bala” scam is appalling! Besides the wasted time and money that is causes the victims, it is also causing our country’s tourism to worsen. If the high number of crime in our country doesn’t scare tourists, then this scam might do just that. It’s sad to know that people are now hesitant to travel to or from the Philippines because of this.
Marilen H., a passenger bound for Guam almost fell victim to this scam. Read her experience below:
“Now that we are home, I would like to share my horrifying experience at NAIA Terminal 2 last September 27, 2015. I had a first-hand experience with the “LAGLAG BALA MODUS” at the airport. Yes! Scary that went through that shocking ordeal. I had an idea of the said modus as I have seen several posts here in FB. But with the grace and protection of the Lord and Mama Mary, I was saved from being a victim.
Here’s my story. My husband & I were bound to Guam. Since my husband is part of the flight crew, I had to check in on my own. Before I went off the car, my husband reminded me to keep an eye of my belongings. He even said, “alam mo naman maraming loko ngayon”. Keeping that in mind, I was really watchful of my things. It was around 730pm when I arrived at the x-ray area. I had with me my personal bag, a paper bag with 2 boxes of ensaymada (pasalubong for my cousins) and a carry-on luggage (all sections secured with padlocks). With that, I was more cautious of my personal bag since it contained my passport & other valuables. So as soon as it came out of the x-ray machine, I immediately picked it up.
And the shocking part began, the x-ray screeners had to screen my carry-on luggage several times. One even said, “naku trending na naman tayo nito”. Suddenly, two guys (airport staff) approached them. They checked on the monitors. One of them (Guy#1) took a picture of the monitor using his cellphone. Upon looking at the picture, Guy#1 kept on saying, “caliber 22, caliber 22, …”. Then the other guy (Guy#2) approached & told me, “Mam can we check your luggage?” Surprised that they had to check my luggage, I calmly cooperated & opened my luggage. But deep inside, I was really scared. The thought about the “Laglag Bala Modus” went through my mind. So I prayed, “Lord, please help me. Mama Mary, please protect me”. During this time, three police officers approached us. So Guy#2 went on with the inspection. Before touching my stuff he raised his hand and said, “Mam wala po ako hawak. Baka po kasi sabihin may hawak ako.” Then pointing at the police officers he said, “saka may witness po tayo”. I opted to stay calm, to keep quiet & to focus on my stuff since he might put something in it. Inside my carry-on luggage were two extra bags which I might need in case we purchase some stuff during our trip. Both were empty. Guy#2 inspected the two empty bags. And of course, he didn’t find anything. Then he checked on my toiletry kit. Upon seeing that it contained toiletries, he then placed in back in the carry-on luggage. Guy#1 then blurted out, “wala dyan pare. Ito ang i-check mo (pointing at Bag#2, see picture). Ibalik mo na lang sa x-ray”. Upon hearing that I said, “pwede ipad lock ko muna yun luggage ko”. I was really shaking when I secured the padlocks. All three bags were subjected again to the x-ray machine. I heard again Guy#1 saying, “caliber 22”, over and over. During this time, I thought maybe he wanted me to be hysterical. He wanted me to make a scene. So they could bring me to their office for further questioning. I really don’t know. But I decided not to make a scene and just be quiet. After several screening in the x-ray, of course, they found nothing. Guy#1 then showed me the picture he took from his cellphone and said, “Mam eto po kasi yan. Baka po tumabingi lang po yun zipper kaya iba itsura”. Then I said, “Kuya hindi ko naiintindihan yun picture ang labo”. He then apologized, “Mam pasensya na po”. I left the area shocked, shaking and really scared. But at the same time, I kept on saying thank you Lord and Mama Mary for your protection.
Guy#1 is the same guy posted in facebook who is allegedly involved in the said modus. At first I didn’t realize it was him. It was only after the incident, when I came across his photos in FB, which made me realize that it was really him. To everyone, be extra cautious when you are at the airport especially when you are travelling alone.
Dear Lord & Mama Mary… thank you for your guidance and protection. Thank you for keeping me safe. Amen!”
Her experience is no doubt scary and would have anyone feeling nervous as things unfold. We’re not sure if she was ALMOST a victim of the scam or if officials were really just doing their job and double checking her belongings. We’d like to think that not all officials are corrupt.
What would you do if you were in her position?