Monday, May 11, 2009

Alert OFW Lady Foils NAIA ‘Magician’

by Flori Tuazon
Her mother had been sick so my wife Marilyn went home to the Philippines on April 9, 2009. Marilyn’s arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was uneventful.

She was overjoyed the moment she saw the smiling face of our daughter Melanie. Melanie who has recently learned how to drive had come to fetch her mother from NAIA.

My wife Marilyn spent most of her short visit caring for her sick mother and playing with our young grandchildren.

Time flew and Marilyn had to depart the Philippines on April 26, 2009. Melanie took her mother to NAIA where they said bitter-sweet goodbyes and embraced each other tightly and lovingly.

After checking in at the airline counter, Marilyn proceeded to the Bureau of Immigration area for the usual passport and visa check. She chose to line up behind a counter manned by Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’

The name of the immigration officer rang an alarm bell in Marilyn’s head and she wanted to change lanes. But she would have to go to the end of a kilometric line, so she stayed put.

Marilyn keeps her passport in a leather passport wallet with a zipped-up side pocket. Before leaving her mother’s house on that day, she put some dollar bills in the fabulous amount of US$70.00 in the zipped-up side pocket of her leather passport wallet.

Marilyn prayed that her transaction with Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ would be uneventful. And so it was, she thought. But she was wrong.

From the immigration counter, Marilyn went directly to her boarding gate. A few minutes after settling down in the departure lounge, she felt thirsty and wanted to buy bottled water. She took her passport wallet from her handbag to pay for the bottle of water. To her embarrassment, there wasn’t any dollar bill in the zipped-up side pocket of her passport wallet. It was empty.

After apologizing to the sales clerk, she sat down and collected her thoughts. As sure as she was sitting there at the NAIA, she knew that she had put US$70 in the zipped-up side pocket of her passport wallet.

Who else aside from her had access to her passport wallet? Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’!!!

Marilyn rushed out of the departure lounge to go back to the desk of this NAIA ‘magician.’ She nearly bumped into the duty airport police officer whom she promptly asked for assistance. Together, they approached Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’

Mr. NAIA ‘Magician’ feigned innocence at first. But my wife Marilyn stepped on her gas pedal, so to speak, and screeched and screamed and shrieked! Soon, a crowd gathered around the desk of Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’

Mr. NAIA ‘Magician’ came to the rescue of his invisible twin, Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’ He pretended to look for the US dollar bills among his things, then bent down and – surprise! – found the fabulous amount of US$70.00 on the floor. He gave it back to my wife with a sheepish grin.

Mr. Regalado Medalla, the Duty Immigration Supervisor, noticed the commotion and approached the desk of Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’ Mr. Medalla asked my wife, the duty airport police officer, and Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ to come with him to the Immigration Office in the airport.

My wife Marilyn argued that it was impossible for her dollar bills to fall out of her passport wallet because they were inside the zipped-up side pocket. Accusing Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ of theft, Marilyn insisted that her complaint be written down in the airport police blotter.

Mr. Regalado Medalla, the Duty Immigration Supervisor, promised Marilyn that the Immigration Office would pursue the matter and would not let Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ off the hook. Mr. Medalla advised Marilyn to follow up her complaint.

As Marilyn was leaving the Immigration Office to catch her flight, Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ clasped his hands on his chest and begged Marilyn to have pity on him. He might lose his job.

As Christians, my wife and I do pity Immigration Officer ‘Mukhang-Dolyar.’ We don’t want him to lose his job. But he doesn’t deserve his job as an immigration officer at the NAIA. Surely, there are many upright men and women who can be recruited for the job Mr. ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ will lose.

Since Mr. ‘Mukhang-Dolyar’ is gifted with sleight of hand, he will surely find a niche as a clown and magician in children’s parties!


ma. elena said...

Many thanks to your wife for the courage in confronting the erring immigration officer. Your wife is lucky, the immigration officer decided to return the $70. The trick in travelling is not to let airport staff or co-travellers to have an access to your money, except perhaps when it is within your handbag and it goes through the x-ray machine. I have just been to Singapore and had left US$600 in the hotel where it could be easily seen by the hotel staff, but it was still there when I returned to the hotel. But then, I was in Singapore.

ReadMe said...

Agree with your wife, let us cleanse our government with undesirable employees whenever we have the opportunity to do so. Your wife's action should encourage our readers to follow and get rid of the rotten eggs in our government. Let us be vigilant and report any anomaly. Mabuhay.