#TanimBala belies Aquino’s daang matuwid

Extortion of Overseas Filipino Workers and ordinary Filipinos does not evince good governance. The “tanim-bala” scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has exposed corruption and patronage politics under Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s so-called “daang matuwid (straight path).”

Aquino should stop boasting about the country’s supposed economic growth through his good governance, while syndicates and extortionists victimize workers and ordinary people through schemes such as the “tanim-bala” and operate under his protection.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma’s statements downplaying the scam is irresponsible and insensitive at best and a poor attempt at cover-up at worst.

Aquino’s refusal to take drastic steps to stop the scam highlights patronage politics in the appointment of the top officials of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado is Aquino’s baptismal godson and once headed presidential security under Pres. Cory Aquino.

By appointing Honrado in the first place, and refusing to sack him despite the controversy, Aquino is responsible for the “tanim-bala” scam. Mar Roxas and other allies of the president should stop making conspiracy theories and blaming other groups for allegedly carrying out a “demolition job” against the government.

The government agencies’ persistent denial of their involvement in the extortion racket also makes us believe that the “tanim-bala” syndicate has deep roots within various national agencies in transportation, aviation and security. Judging from the way this scandal is unfolding, it may just be the tip of the iceberg of bigger scams in the country’s airports.

We are also enraged with the victim-blaming of the Philippine National Police and the MIAA in their effort to cover up their responsibility for the scheme. It is utterly unbelievable that the increase in the number of victims is due to the victims’ carelessness or in the victim’s belief in amulets.

We are calling on all OFWs and all Filipinos to intensify their condemnation of the “tanim-bala” scheme. We vow to hold protests against this extortion racket under Aquino’s “daang matuwid.”