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[OPINION] Frisking drop-dead gorgeous celebrities in airports is frisky business

By Joel Pablo Salud Published Feb 08, 2023 4:04 pm

In March 2018, rapper Juelz Santana made his way to the Newark Liberty International Airport security with a loaded gun—a Derringer .38-caliber tucked in his carry-on bag. Security agents eventually found out, forcing the rapper to skip the security check and flee the scene. He later surrendered to authorities and pleaded guilty to the charge.

Later in October of the same year, Charlie Heaton, celebrated star of Stranger Things, missed the premiere of the show's second season because he nearly got arrested and charged after the Los Angeles Airport canine unit sniffed out traces of cocaine in his luggage. He avoided arrest, the lucky chum, and soon decided it was time to fly back to London.

These are a small fraction of the cases where celebrities tried to dodge airport security using not only their good looks, but popularity. Truth to tell, however, celebrities are no better than the average pasaway who, if given the chance, will try to smuggle across borders anything—from homemade bombs to their neighbor’s sex dolls.  

Security protocols are set in place for exactly this overarching reason: for people’s safety. Any breach of protocol, as we have seen in the past, could spell disaster. 

What happened to K-pop group ENHYPEN at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport? Well, story goes that members of the boy band were frisked by female NAIA security personnel in ways that suggest inappropriate behavior. And by “inappropriate,” I mean security personnel feeling all giggly and silly inside, to the point that they seem to have misplaced their focus.

Captured on a video that later landed online, the security personnel got the beating of their lives from concerned netizens. This time, it wasn’t the celebrities trying to get away with anything; it was the security personnel failing to do their jobs according to the book. 

Serious to some, a laughing matter to many, the incident raises extremely serious concerns: How attentive are our security detail in implementing security protocols in our borders? Lapses may occur in provincial airports, which is understandable due to manpower restrictions. 

But NAIA? As an archipelago, we have eight international airports, and over 75 airports managing domestic and charter flights. A single breach in the security screening in any one of these gateways can mean a burning world for us.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to cancel the aforementioned security personnel or hang them out to dry, as they were only fangirling at the sight of the K-pop group, it is nevertheless a matter of public interest. A fangirling or fanboying security personnel faced with patting down eye-popping pop idols or movie stars may lose their bearing every now and then, but it hardly excuses failure in professional conduct. 

Our airports’ security detail should be trained to “hold it back,” despite the strong kilig factor, always bearing in mind that any failure, no matter how minute, could put them and other people at serious risk. Security people are oftentimes the first to be targeted by would-be criminals, and any weak link in the chain could end up dead.  

Security protocols are set in place for exactly this overarching reason: for people’s safety. Any breach of protocol, as we have seen in the past, could spell disaster.

By the way, are you aware that the terrorist group ISIS lures fangirls into joining their group by posting handsome photos of their members online? Worse, how many celebrities get elected into office for their good looks alone? That hardly needs any explanation.

The Office for Transportation Security immediately aired its concern and proposed to hold an investigation as to the extent of the violation. 

Understanding what the security personnel felt upon seeing the members of the K-pop group does not mean, however, that we should condone the lapses. A slap on the wrist? Cool and dandy. It’s not as if airport security was guilty of murder or tax evasion. The incident only tells me they are human, after all.  

And while many feel the current aviation screening process can be “dehumanizing," it’s the only strategy we have. 

Let’s keep it that way, for now.