Benguet governor accused of passport fraud
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan has been accused of falsifying his passport documents to hide his Chinese nationality.
The Office of the Ombudsman received a Sept. 23 complaint filed against Fongwan by a Benguet resident, James Simon, for violating the Philippine Passport Act (Republic Act No. 8239) when the governor declared that he was Filipino.
But Fongwan shrugged off the complaint, saying it was a plot to discredit him before the 2016 elections. He is on his last term as governor and is reportedly gunning for a congressional seat in 2016.
No record showed that the governor, whose father was a Chinese immigrant and farmer, had “elected Filipino citizenship when he reached the age of majority,” according to Simon’s complaint.
“I was born and raised in the Philippines. I am a Filipino,” Fongwan said. He said he had documents to prove his citizenship.
Last week, the governor said he suspected that the complaint was facilitated by his opponents from the Liberal Party. He did not name them.
“They could not beat me so they’re discrediting me,” he said.
The complaint cited an alien certificate of registration in the Bureau of Immigration issued on Nov. 13, 1945 to Fong Wan, who was described as “a Chinese national from Toy San, Canton, China.” Reports from Vincent Cabreza, Kimberlie Quitasol and EV Espiritu
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