First of all, belated happy, happy birthday to Speaker Feliciano ‘Sonny’ Belmonte, father of the equally brainy, debonnaire and personable Philippine Star CEO and president Miguel Belmonte. May you have many, many more!!!
While ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III continues to draw flak for the behaviour he displayed at the NAIA Terminal 2, not much is either heard or said about those who all the more have the right to the so-called ‘sense of entitlement’ and yet don’t seek it.
Bertiz came into the limelight when a video of him making a scene at the airport came out on social media. In that video, the assigned security screener reportedly told him to remove his shoes but Bertiz refused, flashed an ID and then grabbed the screener’s ID. At least twice, Bertiz apologized publicly.
In the case of the incident at hand for instance, a lady in the background was seen like holding some sort of a balancing act while putting back on her shoes, after following the airport security regulations to the letter.
Mind you, that lady in the background was no less than Ilocos Sur Governor Imee Marcos. In the video that went viral, Marcos, clad in a black blouse and grey pants, was seen entering the security check area intended for females, shortly before the incident between Bertiz and the personnel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).
There, Marcos was seen getting her shoes -- I think they were rubber shoes -- from the X-ray machine and then dropping them to the floor. She nearly tripped on one of her shoes while putting on the other.
Moments later, she quietly proceeded to one of the nearby gangchairs, took a seat and quietly tied her shoes.
Once done, she stood up and then chatted with a lady companion, totally unaware that there was already a commotion going on between Bertiz and one of the screeners.
After holding a press conference on the issue, airport General Manager Ed Monreal confirmed that indeed, it was Gov. Imee on the background and then went on to praise her to high heavens for following the security protocols being implemented at the NAIA.
Considering her stature, Rep. Imee, she said, did not register any objection and humbly went through the security checks without any complaint whatsoever.
Monreal also told the said press conference that the only person entitled to a VIP treatment is President Rodrigo Duterte but just the same, the President never avails of it and in fact prefers to be treated regularly.
In the case of Monreal himself, several witnesses also relayed that just recently, the airport chief himself voluntarily submitted to the security protocols when he left recently for a vacation, also at the NAIA Terminal 2. Monreal, whose title is Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager, has jurisdiction over all the premier NAIA terminals, including the agencies operating inside.
Without waiting to be told, Monreal was said to have removed his shoes voluntarily and then subjected himself to the usual frisking and security wand. We learned that it had been like this whenever he leaves the country.
There is no question that Bertiz acted wrongly. However, it is a big question mark how the video came out in no time, complete with descriptions of the characters involved and accounts of what was going on.
Some airport security providers said that normally, video recordings are released only upon formal request and after an explicit permission is granted by the MIAA. They also cited instances when such requests with the OTS would fall on deaf ears and how on countless occasions, even the MIAA people are given the runaround when they request for video recordings of certain incidents that have become subjects of complaints.
Could it be that the video footages being requested involve OTS personnel themselves? Your guess is as good as mine.
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