The mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte, has also spoken out on the issue. CNN Philippines reports that on an episode of his weekly TV show last Sunday (Nov. 1), Duterte said laglag bala (“dropping a bullet into a bag”) and tanim bala (“planting bullet into a bag”) have been going on for two to three years at the hands of a crime syndicate in Manila.

“I suspect that the very moment they entered NAIA [airport in Manila], right at the cargo hold, the bullets were already planted,” he said.

On Tuesday (Nov. 3), Rappler reported that the office of the Philippine president is also looking into whether passengers were merely bringing bullets onboard as amulets.

“I don’t share that cultural thing of bringing amulets, but I understand a number of people do consider bullets as amulets. So that’s also being looked into,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Rappler reported.

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