Migrant leader Susan Ople on Tuesday asked Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado to reconsider Mrs. Gloria Dumaoal Ortinez’ age and livelihood before pressing any charges against the 56-year old OFW.
Mrs. Ortinez or “Nanay Gloria”, who has been working as a helper in Hong Kong for almost 30 years was arrested after a carbine rifle bullet was allegedly found in her bag.
In a senate hearing, the head of Blas Ople Policy Center said that Ortinez’ travel history made it unlikely for her to bring live ammunition to the airport. She also stressed that Ortinez is a veteran OFW and she knew that bringing ammunition is prohibited.
“Ito po ay beterana nang OFW. Alam niya na bawal magdala ng ammunition sa Hong Kong… Na-destroy na ‘yung buhay ng tao. May potential na baka hindi pa siya maka-pasok ng Hong Kong not because of the employer but because naging security risk siya,” said Ople.
The migrant leader also suspected that Ortinez may have been a victim of the “laglag bala” extortion racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). She also asked the officials present to curb the alleged extortion racket which victimizes mostly OFWs.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute is a non-profit organization that handles labor and migration concerns and develops programs to empower the OFWs and their family. It was named after the late Labor and Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople.
The Ople Center is headed by Susan “Toots” Ople, the youngest daughter of Ka Blas. Susan has had a long track record in helping distressed OFWs. She served as the chief of staff of the Office of Senator Blas F. Ople and chief of staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs when Ka Blas was its secretary. The younger Ople is also seeking a senatorial post in the 2016 elections.
During the hearing which was chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar, Honrado defended the arrest of Ortinez who was allegedly found carrying a bullet in her bag at NAIA noting that the bullet had all the components of live ammunition.
“Kumpleto po ‘yung component niya as an ammunition. Kaya sabi ng PNP (Philippine National Police), we’re basing our judgement on the ammunition. Let the court, let the fiscal court decide [whether] to let her go or not,” Honrado said.
Meanwhile, Honrado said he has accepted the responsibility being the general manager of MIAA.