MANILA, Philippines – An irate American businessman bound for Manila caused a commotion at the Zamboanga City International Airport on Sunday evening after he was barred from boarding his plane for refusing to pay the P40-terminal fee.
A handful of airline passengers and their families witnessed the incident.
Cherry Vic Cadiz, a 32-year old government employee who was accompanying her brother to the airport, was caught by surprise when she overheard a “hot-tempered Caucasian man” raise his voice and curse a security guard designated near the pre-departure area of the airport.
“I am not paying any sh*t! You are not receiving any money from me,” Cadiz quoted the American as saying.
Airport authorities tried to pacify the American but they, too, were not spared the visitor’s ire. “I explained to him that he just needed to pay the P40 terminal fee so we could allow him through the pre-departure area. But he refused,” said an airport policeman who refused to be named.
“He appeared drunk, or something. Otherwise, he would not be acting arrogantly. I was even afraid to look at him because he could also vent his anger on us,” Cadiz pointed out. “The authorities were apparently helpless in handling the situation.”
US to the rescue
A local TV news crew also caught on footage the American giving them the dirty finger.
More than half an hour after causing the airport commotion, two members of the US military stationed in Zamboanga City who were also scheduled to take the flight to Manila, tried to intervene to assist the agitated tourist.
Minutes later, the American was seen leaving the airport, accompanied by the US soldiers in plainclothes. He was later identified as a certain “Michael Chase” based on his airline documents.
A statement from the US embassy confirmed that it was a “US citizen working for a private company” who “allegedly created a disturbance” at the Zamboanga airport.
“(He) was in Zamboanga on business,” Tina Malone, US Embassy press attache said. “US military personnel from the (Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines) JSOTF-P who happened to be nearby at the time, did provide assistance at the scene of the incident.”
On Monday, January 23, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat noted some lapses in how the Police Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines responded to the incident. Lobregat insisted that the police should have detained the American, instead of allowing him to leave with the US soldiers.
“A Filipino would not have been exempted (from the law) just the same if he were found guilty of the charges,” Lobregat said, insisting that the policemen should trace the whereabouts of the US national. – Rappler.com