The newly discovered “human trafficking” scheme in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will soon be looked into by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (SBRC), Senator Grace Poe said Thursday.
Poe, in a statement, said the SBRC, which is chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino, has always been active on investigating incidents involving graft and corruption.
“No doubt that it will happen soon,” Poe said.
Based on the preliminary report her office received, the lawmaker said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) Aviation Group and the Globan Aviation will have a lot of explaining to do.
In her privilege speech delivered on Wednesday in the Senate plenary, Poe reported that the PNP Aviation Security Group received an anonymous tip about a human trafficking activity involving an aircraft that is set to depart for Dubai at about 10 p.m. on the same day at the NAIA.
The anonymous information, she said, also noted that only six passengers have been declared but a total of 14 passengers will actually board the aircraft.
“Ang nasabing eroplano ay (The said plane is) operated by Cloud Nine No. 1 Leasing Company Limited, a Hong Kong registered leasing company, and their assigned aircraft ground handler is a local company, [called] Globan Aviation Service Corporation or GLOBAN,” Poe reported.
She said her office was able to secure a copy of the flight’s General Declaration, which states that only three crew members and six passengers will board the plane.
But based on the information that Poe’s office got from the BI, seven passengers were declared that include a Malaysian, a Korean, a Chinese, a Vanuatuan and three others from Saint Kitts and Nevis.
“Malinaw na may (It is clear that there is an) irregularity at paglabag sa (and violation in the) existing policies and procedures of airport agencies like the MIAA, Immigration, PNP Aviation, and CAAP,” she said.
Poe’s fellow senators expressed their disgust after hearing about the incident and urged the appropriate committee to handle the inquiry.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, even suggested that Poe’s privilege speech be referred to his committee.
“They [alleged corrupt NAIA employees and Immigration officers] violate all protocols and laws just to give VIP treatment to these people. What a disgusting incident. I move that you refer this privilege speech to my committee,” Dela Rosa manifested.
Poe believes what happened is more than just a protocol glitch as it involves national security and human trafficking.
“Let us not allow private flights in our airports as a highway for human trafficking,” she appealed.
Last December 2022, Poe recalled, a similar incident happened wherein undeclared Chinese nationals were also able to skirt pre-flight inspections.