Live ammo found in luggage of Philippines clergy, extortion suspected

Most Rev Renato Abibico's party was the victim of an attempt at extortion.

Philippines clergy find live ammo in luggage: Extortion racket blamed  

The head of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines was the target of a suspected extortion attempt when a bulletwas planted in the luggage of one of his staff at an airport, reports Anglican Ink.

The Prime Bishop, Most Rev Renato Abibico, and other members of the Church's leadership team were travelling from Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Tacloban, known as the town devastated by Typhoon Haiyan two years ago.

Abibico reported: "A bullet was placed inside our bag containing our meeting materials for our meeting."

He said the episode was an example of "tanim bala", where airport security staff deliberately plant live ammunition in passengers' luggage in order to extort money from them as a bribe to avoid arrest.

Abibico said that the 32-calibre bullet "must have been placed by the personnel attending to the X-ray machine upon entering the airport".

A spokesman for the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Herminio Coloma, last month said said that the tanim bala practice was an isolated problem, but this week said the upsurge in complaints would prompt a government investigation.