At a Glance
- Presidential cousin, Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba (In photo) recalls the time he was stopped by an immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and was asked to produce an National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance on the spot.
- (Photo from Facebook)
Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba admitted to being annoyed that one time when a Bureau of Immigration (BI) officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) asked for his National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, of all things.
Barba, a cousin of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., recounted his experience during a recent hearing of the House Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle, which he chairs. There were BI representatives at the hearing.
The Ilocano didn’t say when this actually occurred, but it was upon his return to the Philippines from a trip to Hawaii in the United States (US).
He recalled being exhausted from the long flight as he had to queue up before the BI officer at the airport. And then his turn came.
“An immigration officer called my attention, sa arrival yan ha (this was upon arrival). Her first question was, do I have an NBI clearance? So I replied, ‘Why?'” he said.
“I have been travelling in and out of the country, tapos na ang EDSA-EDSA nun eh kaya pinapayagan na ko nun (by that time the EDSA issue was over, and I was permitted to travel),” he noted.
“I was surprised pero medyo irritated kasi pagod ka eh (but I was a bit irritated since I was tired). It’s a 10-hour flight. Gusto ko nang umuwi dahil naghihintay na ang Ilocos Norte sakin (I wanted to come home because Ilocos Norte is waiting for me). I still have a lot of things to do in the district,” said Barba, who is also a vice chairman of the Committee on Accounts in to current 19th Congress.
Essentially, an NBI clearance is sought from an individual to ensure that he or she has no criminal record.
“I replied [to the BI officer] I have travelled in and out already and I even showed her my diplomatic passport. Hindi po ako papayagan bigyan ng diplomatic passport kung may record ako (I wouldn’t have been given a diplomatic passport if I had a criminal record),” Barba said.
He said the BI officer answered, “Kasi ho may kapangalan kayo eh, Eugene Barba (It’s because you have a namesake, Eugene Barba).”
But the solon contended that the names weren’t close enough. “Ang layo naman sa Eugenio nun. Eugenio Angelo M. Barba ako eh (Eugene is far from Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, which is my name).”
Barba said: “If this could happen to a public official, papaano naman kung ordinary citizen di ba? (then what about to an ordinary, right?)”
To this, BI Officer III Jose Dennis Javier assured Barba that the agency is “purging our derogatory system from our old records because apparently there are encoded names of people that are incomplete from courts”.
“What we are doing right now is we are trying to purge the old records and most of the time when immigration officers conduct primary inspection, they usually do series of basic questions for passengers whether this person is the actual person [with a derogatory record] or not,” Javier said, alluding to what happened to Barba.
“Sometimes there are names that are alias or a.k.a.(also known as), that’s why some officers tend to go ask further question. I think this is what happened to some passengers,” he further explained.
Javier told the committee that with the BI’s ongoing digitization efforts, they would soon be able to “pre-check” all passengers before they either depart or arrive at the airport.
The BI is an attached agency of the Department of Justice. — Ellson Quismorio
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph