By Daniel Llanto i FilAm Star Correspondent
Party-list member of the House of Representatives ACTS-OFW Rep. John Bertiz III apologized for throwing his weight around when he refused to take off his shoes as part of a new airport security protocol at the NAIA.
But he still stands to lose his congressional seat and may be investigated for unethical conduct.
A video of Bertiz went viral on social media after he refused to comply with a security protocol and told off the airport personnel on duty that time. He was supposed to remove his shoes as part of the final inspection but he walked through the metal detector without complying.
When the security personnel called him out, the Congressman pushed his Congress ID to the man’s face.
Part of the controversial video showed Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos removing her shoes and complying with the security protocol.
Bertiz initially offered an alibi for his behavior, saying he was forced to defy the airport protocol upon seeing Chinese tourists ahead of him also refusing to remove their shoes for inspection. But Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said they inspected the video and there was no Chinese tourist.
This caused Bertiz to change his tune and apologized to the public saying, “For the past three years that I’ve been a member of Congress, in a year, medyo dadapuan tayo ng monthly period, hindi po natin maaalis na tao lang po, marupok, mainit ang ulo,” he told reporters.
“Humihingi na nga rin po ako ng kapatawaran sa publiko na hindi nga talaga dapat ganito umasta ang mga government official” Bertiz added.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus was moved to comment that “women should not be stereotyped as arrogant and entitled during their menstrual period.”
Bertiz’s non-compliance incited public outrage coming as it does from the ACTS-OFW representative. Previously, he was also figured in the PRC license controversy and a shouting match with an OFW in Hong Kong.
NAIA previously announced that they would no longer require airline passengers to remove their shoes upon inspection. However, it was only implemented under normal security condition levels.
According to Honrado, passengers would only be required to remove their shoes if the metal detector rings or if the security personnel asks them so.
“Beginning November 1, 2012, shoe inspections at the final security checkpoints in the departure areas of all NAIA terminals shall no longer be mandatory under normal alert conditions,” Honrado said in a statement.
It was done to speed up the general departure process and to “improve frontline services in airports and seaports.”
Passengers bound for the United States were not exempted from the rule as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires shoe inspection to be done in boarding areas.
Honrado added that passengers should remove their shoes if the airport is under a high-level security condition.
In Bertiz’s case, however, the airport was under security condition level two. Under that protocol, passengers are supposed to undergo a shoe inspection in the last stage of the security check.
There are three levels of a security condition in an airport. The highest level is raised under the possibility of terrorist attacks.
Office for Transportation Security Administrator Undersecretary Arturo Evangelista shared that everyone goes through the protocol.
For defying this protocol, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Bertiz might be investigated following the recent incidents he has been involved with. “There may be a possibility that we may have to take this up to the ethics committee,” he said.