‘Tanim-bala’: Basic protocols discarded?
The recent brouhaha over the alleged “planting” of bullets in plane passengers’ baggage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport boils down to one cause—and that is, a lack of the most basic knowledge in criminal investigation on the part of the authorities concerned. Had the very simple steps or investigative procedures been taken properly, a sound conclusion should have been achieved.
Among the nagging questions one tends to ask about the evidence or a bullet allegedly recovered by the screening personnel is: Was it properly marked by the recovery person for easy identification; and was the chain of custody intact up to the last man who presented the bullet before the inquest fiscal? The chain of custody can very well be established through the proper issuance of an official receipt by every person having an official capacity or competence to handle it until it reaches the evidence custodian. With such steps accomplished, there would be no chance of evidence-switching or -planting against innocent persons.
The police should undertake an in-depth investigation into such cases, so that they are able to establish the suspect’s motive or determine the benefit the suspect could derive from carrying a lone bullet in his/her bag without a gun; and they should also look into the possibility that a bullet could have been placed in the bag by somebody (who could be an airport personnel), without the victim’s knowledge, before the bag was subjected to an X-ray scan.
The police should establish the facts and not just make an endorsement of the case to the fiscal.
—R.B. MORATA, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City
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