Bertiz apologizes for his behavior in NAIA but insists airport staff was 'rude and arrogant'

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After he was accused of harassment in a viral video at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Representative John Bertiz says he called out the airport security personnel for not conducting security checks on Chinese-looking persons. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — ACTS OFW Representative John Bertiz apologized for his behavior in NAIA after being caught in another viral video, however, he maintained that the airport security personnel he allegedly harassed did not perform security checks on several "Chinese looking nationals."

In a closed-circuit television video posted on Facebook by a netizen on Sunday, the Congressman was seen in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) going through airport security, when he appeared to forcibly take the ID of the stationed personnel he identified as Hamilton Abdul. 

Bertiz explained that he was just asking Abdul in a "nice" manner why he did not perform security checks, such as asking to remove footwear at the checkpoint, on several Chinese looking persons who went before him. 

"Kung nakikita niyo sa cctv nagsasalita ako sa kanya in a nice way, sabi kong ganoon 'Meron naman akong level 4 na security ID, hindi ko naman sinasabi na hubarin pero sana pinahubad mo rin ang nauna sa akin. Bakit ako ilang beses mo na ako pinababalik?'," Bertiz explained. 

[Translation: If you can see from the CCTV I was speaking to Abdul in a nice way. I said 'I have a level 4 security ID, green color, I wasn't saying that he would ask them (Chinese looking persons) to remove their footwear but they should have asked those who went before me. How come I was asked multiple times to return?]

"Ang nangyari po, sinita ko ang NAIA security checker na si Hamilton Abdul matapos niyang palusutin sa security check ang ilang Chinese looking nationals na may escort na NAIA staff," he said in an earlier statement. 

[Translation:What happened is I called out the NAIA security checker identified as Hamilton Abdul after he let slip several Chinese-looking nationals escorted by NAIA staff through security check.]

Bertiz claimed Abdul responded in a "rude and arrogant" manner to his queries. 

"Tapos sabi ko doon sir, 'Siguro bago ka pa hindi mo pa alam ang usual protocol.' And he was so rude and arrogant, 'tatlong taon na ako dito no, ano ba yang ID mo? sino ka ba?' Ginanon ako," he said. 

[Translation: Then I told him 'You are probably new here, you don't know the protocol.' He was so rude and arrogant, 'I've been for three years, what about your ID? Who do you think you are?' He told me]

The video post described Bertiz as "ignorant" and accused him of deliberately skipping airport security protocols, and harassing Abdul. 

"This IGNORANT POLPOLITICIAN, Cong. ANCIETO JOHN BERTIZ, as per instructions, was advised to take off his shoes, BUT deliberately ignored the screening officer and went in, then harassed and shoved his damn ID unto the OTS personnel's face and took the officer's ID," the caption said.

 

However, Bertiz said the release of the footage poses a greater threat as it puts national security at stake since security videos can now be shared easily on social media. 

"This really involves a very high security threat lalong lalo na sa ating mga paliparan [especially in our airports], especially kung halimbawa [for example] that video can be shared to anybody at a price," he said. 

Aviation authorities assured that they are already looking into the incident.

In a joint statement, the Department of Transportation, Manila International Airport Authority, and Office for Transportation Security said "all reports, complaints, and actual video footages are now being consolidated and evaluated" as part of a "thorough investigation."

"Authorities are now studying if any law or protocol has been violated, and assures all individuals concerned that any decision shall strictly be in accordance to existing rules, regulations, and procedures being implemented in our airports," the statement said.

Bertiz added that he reached out to Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal, who he said apologized for the incident. 

Some officials responded to Bertiz' new viral video controversy. Senator JV Ejercito accused Bertiz of making excuses for his so-called arrogant behavior. 

"Palusot pa more! Kitang kita sa video Mr. Congressman kahit walang audio kung paano ka umasta! Hindi lisensya para magmalaki ang may suot kang pin ng Kongreso dapat nga mas maingat sa publiko kapag suot mo yan!," Ejercito said in a tweet.

[Translation: You're making excuses! Its clear in the video Mr. Congressman, though it has no audio, how you behaved! Proudly wearing a pin from Congress is not a license, you should even be more careful in public when you wear that!]

 

Meanwhile incoming ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin, Jr. raised concern over the staff member allegedly letting Chinese looking persons slip through airport security without being checked. 

"Is there video corroborating what Bertiz claims? Or proof it was edited? This is serious: he alleges preference for Chinese (e.g. giving them license to put up a casino in Boracay and foul it more.) That is total unacceptable," Locsin's tweet said.

 

This latest development comes in the wake of another viral video of the Congressman saying Professional Regulation Commission licenses will not be granted to those who do not know Bong Go, the Special Assistant to the President. Bertiz explained that his remark was merely a "joke" and apologized for it. 

READ: Rep. Bertiz on viral 'walang lisensya' video: It was meant to be a joke

CNN Philippines is reaching out to Monreal for comments.