Xian Gaza airport story fake news – Immigration
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Monday, April 8, that social media personality Xian Gaza’s Facebook story of how he evaded airport clearance to leave the country in 2018 was “fake news.”
“His story sounds like it was taken straight out of an action movie. He said it so himself, his story is based on what happened, but sadly it’s not what actually happened,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a statement on Monday.
Gaza, who gained notoriety for his infamous declaration of admiration for actress Erich Gonzales via a billboard, then later for figuring in an investment fraud, posted on Sunday, April 7, the story of how he was supposedly able to leave the country with “3 warrants of arrest and a 5-year sentence.”
Sandoval said that, on the contrary, there were no warrants of arrest against Gaza when he left. There were no Hold Departure Orders (HDOs) either, added Sandoval.
“Since he had no derogatory record when he left, he was cleared for departure. It was quite uneventful and ordinary, really. No Hollywood-level storyline, just regular immigration clearance,” Sandoval said.
Gaza was convicted for 11 counts of violating the Bouncing Check Law in June 2018. He was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months in prison by the Malabon Metropolitan Trial Court.
Gaza mentioned in his Facebook post, which has since gone viral, that there was a supposed conditional pardon for his conviction in exchange for his “service” to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Gaza said he chose to flee instead of being stuck with the NBI and with a watchlist and an HDO.
A watchlist will not prevent the subject from leaving the country. A person with an HDO can still leave the country if he or she gets the court’s permission.
In succeeding posts on Facebook, Gaza makes light of the media fanfare revolving his supposed escape, and teases followers that he could just have been within the Philippines the whole time.
‘Did not happen’
Gaza shared a supposed conversation between him and an immigration officer, where the officer supposedly told him of his derogatory records which required informing the police of his presence.
Gaza said he had checked in to 3 flights, the two were “decoy” flights, and that police officers who supposedly checked him in his actual flight could not find him because he hid in the plane's toilet.
Sandoval said “the story is preposterous,” and that “the alleged conversation between Gaza and an immigration officer did not happen.”
“If you know regular airport procedures, his story sounds silly. Ang daming loopholes (there are too many loopholes) . Booking numerous flights will not help evade police. Everything is recorded in our systems, with one click you’ll know which flight a person really took,” Sandoval added added.
Sandoval said the BI is studying possible actions against Gaza.
“Stunts like this using the Bureau to gain fame and stay relevant are a security risk. He is making a mockery of our airport procedures for attention,” Sandoval said. – Rappler.com