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‘Mistaken identities’ in PH airports infuriating

01:32 AM March 09, 2016

In his column “Battle of American advisers” (Metro, 3/3/16), Ramon Tulfo wrote about an American citizen who was snookered from taking his flight back to the United States and detained by our immigration authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. His “crime”? Having the same Filipino-sounding name and surname as someone accused of a crime and subject of a hold-departure order from a court. As it turned out, the real douche bag named in the warrant of arrest was 26 years of age. The American citizen was 74!

This was by no means an isolated incident. I have had a number of clients also inconvenienced—nay, turned homicidal—by the same bureaucratic bungling our airport officials are so notorious for. Would it kill them to seek more information about persons they are supposed to pounce on at that critical point? Can they not ask the courts to give profiles or more details so as to avoid or minimize incidents of “mistaken identities”? Saying sorry later on does not even begin to cover the tremendous damage such recklessness may cause.

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How many Lucio Tans, Henry Sys, Antonio Gos, Peter Chuas, etc. are there in this country? Check any old telephone directory and be amazed and amused! How many pending warrants are there for the arrest of people bearing those names? Do our airport officials just indiscriminately clamp down on them simply because they have the same names? How imbecilic is that? Yet, in spite of numerous and persistent complaints, it is so infuriating and frustrating that no one in government has bothered to do anything about that no-brainer of a problem.

—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, Monsanto Law Office, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, lexsquare.firm@gmail.com

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TAGS: Immigration, mistaken identity, ninoy Aquino international airport
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