MANILA Passengers accessing the country's main airport are warned against using fraudulent passports, as Filipino immigration officers are there to scrutinize every document, an official told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.
"Our officers were trained to detect fraudulent documents. We have two lines of inspectors in document checking," Bureau of Immigration (BI) port operations division chief Red MariAas said.
He added that the bureau has a laboratory to certify the documents' authenticity.
Last July 24, a Liberian passenger was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, as authorities found he was using a fraudulent passport.
Based on the BI-Travel Control Enforcement Unit's (TCEU) record, Frederick Buchester was bound for Thailand - Brussels, Belgium via Thai Airways flight TG625 last Tuesday.
The passenger arrived in the Philippines on July 4, with remarks that he was "visiting Filipina wife Jenoveva Lagutao, pax living in Belgium".
Buchester has a Liberian passport and Belgium residence card.
TCEU supervisor Maria Ruby Fontejon noticed the poor quality of Buchester's passport. This prompted the immigration officers to verify it further with the bureau's anti-fraud section at Terminal 3.
The anti-fraud section verified that Buchester's passport is fraudulent and its bio page is counterfeit. His residence card, however, is genuine.
Buchester was deferred from his departure. Fontejon endorsed him to the BI-Border Control and Intelligence Unit.
As of Thursday, Fontejon reported that Buchester would be turned over to the Legal Division for further investigation and appropriate action.
"Authorities are still investigating if Buchester used an original passport when he came to the Philippines, and if he switched to fraudulent documents when he attempted to depart," MariAas said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency