The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have rescued a Filipina, suspected of being a trafficking victim, who attempted to leave by falsely claiming she was going to meet her foreign husband.
In a report to Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) said that the passenger was stopped from leaving last May 14 at the NAIA Terminal 3 before she could board an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur en route to her final destination in Phom Penh, Cambodia.
The TCEU reported that the passenger, whose identity was not disclosed as mandated by law, was prevented from boarding her flight after officers discovered that she presented a spurious certificate of marriage to her alleged Chinese spouse whom she said she was supposed to meet upon arriving in Cambodia.
“We commend our officers at the airport for a job well done. This ploy of using fake marriages to foreigners to sidestep our strict departure inspection formalities is an old trick that will no longer work. We warn the public against allowing themselves to be lured by such scheme,” Tansingco said in a statement in reaction to the incident.
It was learned that the BI inspectors noticed many inconsistencies in the victim’s statement as well as discrepancies in the documents she presented.
BI: Cambodia-bound trafficking ring resorting to faking marriages
A check of her alleged husband’s travel record showed that he was barred from entering the country by BI officers at the NAIA in September last year on the ground that he is likely to become a public charge.
The certificate of marriage the victim presented, however, indicate that their marriage occurred in October last year or a month after her alleged spouse was barred from entering the country.
When further asked during interview, the victim eventually admitted that a fixer, who claimed to be a lawyer, was responsible for processing her travel documents. She said she paid the latter P35,000 for his services. She shared that she was asked to sign the marriage contract in a coffee shop in Manila.
She also bared that it was her fake foreign spouse who shouldered the cost of her trip to Cambodia.