gmanetwork.com - A Canadian actor’s encounter with a corrupt airport Customs official could have happened in the Philippines, which is why some Manila-based news sites wrote gleefully about his story as told to US ‘Late Show’ television host David Letterman.
But it didn’t happen in the Philippines but in Indonesia.
Letterman mentioned the Philippines in passing during an interview with film and television actor Taylor Kitsch, who told Letterman about the airport Customs official who gave him a hard time and gave strong hints that an iPhone would make entry into the country easier.
Kitsch did not correct Letterman’s mistaken identification of the Philippines as the country where he worked on the movie, Savages.
A quick probe by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon revealed that Kitsch actually went to Indonesia.
Besides, a movie directed by Oliver Stone and which also stars John Travolta would have excited local fans at least as much as The Bourne Legacy, which just finished shooting in the Philippines. There had been no previous news about Savages being shot in the Philippines, so Letterman’s claim should have raised media eyebrows.
But the Late Show video of the episode is on YouTube where the recording’s caption says Kitsch “runs into some trouble on his way to work in the Philippines.”
The YouTube video has been viewed at least 4,432 times and was referred to in some media reports.
In the video, Kitsch narrated how a ‘Customs’ official almost did not let him through.
In his blog, Biazon went into considerable detail on the inquiries he made.
“It is with seriousness that I take into account the story related by Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch in an interview in the Late Show with David Letterman. As soon as it came to my attention, I immediately conducted an inquiry into his allegation,” Biazon narrated.
He explained that his concern “stems from the fact that such an allegation not only puts the Bureau of Customs (which I head) in a bad light but the country as well. For the past five months, I have been trying to reverse the negative image of the BOC, so incidents like this undermine those efforts.”
Biazon did some sleuthing. Checks with his own subordinates and with officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Bureau of Immigration yielded conclusive findings that Kitsch did not enter the Philippines.
“Looking further into the story of Mr. Kitsch, I inquired with our NAIA Customs Office for records of Mr. Kitsch’s declaration form, just to be sure. If he had submitted a declaration form, then I would have reviewed the CCTV footage of his arrival, to verify his story and determine the personnel involved. But there was no declaration submitted,” the customs chief said.
“I coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration to check their records for the entry of Mr. Kitsch. After a thorough search, Immigration did not find an arrival entry for Mr. Kitsch,” Biazon added.
He even “checked with US authorities” and in the process found out that the actor’s full name is Taylor Wade Kitsch, was born April 8, 1981 and is Canadian.
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