'Tanim bala' task force chief: Too early to make conclusions

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CNNPH File Photo

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The seven-man National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) task force assigned to look into the alleged "tanim bala" scheme has begun to look into the testimonies of people claiming to have been scammed.

Manuel Antonio Eduarte, chief of Task Force Talaba or Tanim/Laglag bala, said the team will focus on victims who supposedly paid off airport personnel to avoid detention.

Also read: DOTC's Abaya, MIAA's Honrado face complaint over 'tanim bala' scheme

Eduarte said these victims will provide better leads as they may point out airport personnel or officials who demanded cash or other forms of payoff.

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According to reports, victims of the scam are framed for illegally carrying live ammunition and are forced to pay a hefty sum to avoid criminal complaints.

Eduarte said Task Force Talaba would also look into complaints or reports previously filed before the NBI by people who claimed they were victims of the scheme. But he did not want to specify how many complaints had been filed before the agency.

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Meantime, Eduarte denied reports that the NBI had confirmed a syndicate was behind the alleged scam.

He said the task force, created by Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa earlier this week, was still in the early stages of its investigation and it would be premature to conclude whether a syndicate or high-ranking officials were involved.

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The task force, following a strict 15-day timeline, is required to submit a report to by November 18. Eduarte said they will try their best to to come up with a substantive report by then.