By Jun Ramirez
Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have arrested three foreign nationals for attempting to enter and leave the country with spurious travel documents.
In his report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were recently intercepted on three separate occasions at the NAIA 2 and 3 terminals.
The passengers include a Chinese who arrived with a fraudulently acquired Philippine passport, an African with a bogus Mali passport, and another Chinese man with a fake Canadian visa.
“They were all brought to our detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City and are now undergoing deportation proceedings for using spurious immigration documents,” Medina said.
The BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) identified one of the Chinese passengers as a certain Sonny Tamayo Liang, who presented a Philippine passport upon his arrival from Bangkok at the NAIA 2 terminal last Sept. 5.
Although his passport appeared to be genuine, the BI’s Interpol database indicated that it was a stolen and lost travel document.
“We also received a copy of an urgent dispatch from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) identifying Liang as one of several Chinese nationals who managed to apply and acquire Philippine passports through fraudulent means to legitimize their stay in the country,” BI-Interpol chief Erwin Ortañez said.
Last Sept. 10, BI-TCEU members at NAIA 3 apprehended and barred from leaving the country Chinese passenger Wang Lei, who attempted to board a flight to Vancouver with a fake Canadian visa.
“He arrived as a transit passenger from Shanghai, China and was about to board an ANA flight to Vancouver when he was intercepted,” said TCEU head Maria Timotea Barizo.
On Sept. 12, an African named Mohamed Keita who claimed to be a citizen of Mali was arrested at NAIA 3 after he arrived aboard a Qatar Airways flight from Doha.
When questioned by BI-TCEU officers, the passenger gave inconsistent answers and could not explain his purpose in travelling to the Philippines. His Mali passport was found spurious.