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Basketball player nabbed for fake passport

Bureau of Immigration Logo

FOR attempting to enter the country with a fake Philippine passport, a professional basketball player was nabbed by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco identified the passenger as 36-year-old Avery Roberto Scharer, who was apprehended on Thursday upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1.

Scharer had just arrived aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Canada when he presented to the immigration officer at the arrival area his American and Philippine passports.

The BI officer, however, noticed major discrepancies and irregularities in his Philippine passport which prompted him to refer the travel document to his duty supervisor who then endorsed the same to the bureau’s forensic documents laboratory for examination.

The forensic laboratory later issued a certification confirming its findings that the Philippine passport presented by Scharer is fraudulent.

He allegedly posted on social media that he was wrongfully detained by immigration authorities upon his arrival at the NAIA.

“Our forensic equipment confirmed the suspicion of our officers,” said Tansingco. “The Philippine passport he presented contained tampered pages, including the biographical data page. His attempt to conceal these alternations cannot escape the scrutiny of our inspectors. Posting false information on social media to gain sympathy despite the violation further manifests undesirability. There are no sacred cows, as any foreign national who have violated immigration laws and presented fake documentation will be arrested,” he added.

Scharer was later turned over to the BI legal division for inquest proceedings on charges of violating the Philippine passport act and for using a spurious immigration document. He will remain in the BI’s detention center in Bicutan, Taguig pending the resolution of his case.

It was gathered that Scharer played for various collegiate, amateur and professional basketball leagues in the US and Asia. In 2015, Scharer was drafted fifth overall by the Wang’s Basketball Couriers in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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