The security official at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) who was suspended for allegedly stealing $300 (P17,000) from a Chinese passenger and swallowing the bills has now asserted that it was chocolate that she put in her mouth.
According to a report by 24 Oras, the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) employee denied during the investigation that what she ate was the money belonging to a certain Mr. Cai, which she allegedly took from his bag after doing a manual search.
"Nagsubmit siya ng supplemental affidavit niya sa ating investigation team na parang may kinain lang daw siyang tsokolate," OTS Administrator Mao Aplasca told the news outlet.
However, Aplasca noted that the investigation team is finding this hard to believe, "Hindi naman normal na ganun kumain ng tsokolate, na hirap na hirap at tinutulak pa niya, atsaka hindi mo kailangan ng tubig."
The screening officer, along with her supervisor and another fellow security official who handed her the bottle of water, is currently under preventive suspension. Aplasca earlier explained that the official cannot be arrested because she wasn't caught in the act.
However, the three individuals involved have now been charged with an administrative case of grave misconduct, with the OTS discussing whether the case of theft should be filed against them as well.
The investigation team is also set to scrutinize 14 other NAIA security officers.
The issue came to light when a closed-circuit television footage captured the screening officer swallowing the alleged dollar bills, folded into one small piece. She then covered her mouth with a handkerchief before proceeding to drink water from a bottle given by her colleague.
Since March, airport officials have been prohibited from having pockets over cases of stealing.