Wow, its been a while since I wrote something interesting (at least, for me 🙂 ). But lately, I experienced something interesting and find it too intriguing not to write about.
I am two weeks shy from my scheduled vacation to Sydney, Australia, so I am busy preparing my documents for a smooth passage in the Immigration Office on my flight date. My first ever out-of-the-country travel. One of the documents was the N.B.I. (National Bureau of Investigation) Clearance (Philippines’ NBI is the counterpart of U.S.A’s FBI). To acquire the clearance, I went to the NBI Office last June 16 and applied for it.
My name was called after 5 hours and a half to have my picture and my biometrics taken. Supposedly, after that, if a person doesn’t have criminal or derogatory records, one can immediately get the clearance. The sad thing is, I was advised to come back after 5 days to get my clearance because my name got “hit” when they scanned it against their records of persons with criminal records.
Oh gosh, someone with name same as mine is on the “wanted” list. I told the office,” it’s definitely not me!” 🙂 I don’t have to explain further, I just smiled and walked away thinking that along with the 90 million population of my country, someone shared my name but not my “law-abiding citizen” disposition.
I came back on the 5th day. I waited for roughly 30 minutes, anxious but confident to get the clearance. And my name was called at the releasing area.
With my experience, I can’t help but think and feel for those people whose identity were taken mistakenly as notorious. Sometimes, the worst thing happens, I hear news of persons killed by “riding in tandem vigilantes” but close friends and relatives of the victim would come shocked and disdainful. They would tell stories of how much of a good man the victim was; swearing that the victim never had a bad trait on every strand of his hair. It’s not fair, right?
The city where I live probably had the most cases of vigilantism in the Philippines. We call them the Davao Death Squad. Our City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the alleged mastermind of the summary executions and was even investigated by the Human Rights Group and the Department of Justice, but was never proven. Our City Mayor would just laugh at it and openly agrees to the summary executions, citing that the victims were trashes to the society; drug addicts and drug traffickers.
Sometimes, I think of these things as beneficial for me and my family. Nobody would dare do bad things anymore. I can walk around the city at night time feeling safe and protected from lawless elements. But when I got “hit” during the clearance, I feel that anybody can be a victim, even me or someone from my family. My conscience is clear; I have been a law-abiding citizen since birth. But what if I will be mistaken for somebody with a really, really bad record?