177 Indonesians carrying Philippine passports apprehended

Published 6:46 am Friday, August 19, 2016

MANILA, Philippines — Immigration authorities at Manila’s airport intercepted 177 Indonesians carrying Philippine passports before they boarded a flight Friday to Saudi Arabia.

Five Filipinos escorting the Indonesians on a hajj pilgrimage were also apprehended as the passengers were about to leave for Medina, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

The real but fraudulently obtained passports were allegedly provided by the group’s Filipino escorts, Morente said. The Indonesians allegedly paid $6,000 to$10,000 each to join the pilgrimage under a quota the Saudi government reserves for Filipino pilgrims.

Email newsletter signup

The immigration chief said the passengers’ identities were revealed because they could not speak any Philippine language or dialect. They later admitted to be Indonesians who arrived in the country separately as tourists.

Morente ordered the immediate filing of immigration charges against them for misrepresenting themselves as Filipinos and for being undesirable aliens. They are being detained at the bureau’s detention center in suburban Taguig City.