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Annalisa Enrile's Letter to US Ambassador

Letter of Prof. Annalisa Enrile
to the US Ambassador to the Philippines

August 8, 2007

Her Excellency Kristie A. Kenney
Embassy of the United States of America
Roxas Boulevard, Manila

Your Excellency:

I am an American citizen, an assistant professor of the University of Southern California who recently brought and led a graduate class of 25 for direct field experience on the subject "Feminist Theory and Social Change."

I am requesting the Embassy's assistance because the Philippine government is refusing to let me return to the United States even though I know of no charges or cases against my person.

Furthermore, I have been and am being shuffled from the Department of Justice to the Bureau of Immigration to some office called NICA. Since August 5, 2007 when I was stopped from boarding my flight home, I have not been told any specific reason as to why I am being prevented from returning to my home country. My human and civil rights are being violated by this surrealist procedure dictated by some unknown entity/person. This is causing me extreme distress, as well as jeopardizing my professional standing and causing me financial hardship. As I have not made provisions to stay in the Philippines beyond August 5, I am practically a homeless person, dependent on the good will of friends for my board and lodging.

I am of mind to sue whoever gave the "hold" order for actual and punitive damages, which are accumulating daily. It would be good if the Embassy can help me find out the basis for this hold order and its veracity, as well as its origins so that I may seek justice.

Please find attached my signed declaration on the events of the past four days. I may be reached at 0918-273-0744.

Thank you very much.


Annalisa Vicente Enrile, Ph.D., MSW
Assistant Professor
University of Southern California
School of Social Work


Chronology of Events

On August 5, 2007, 8 p.m., I checked in my luggage for my flight back to Los Angeles via Philippine Airlines.

I was accompanied by three other women who were all US citizens. Five of my students who were on the same flight had gone ahead and checked in without incident. Twenty students and an instructor who had earlier flights also were able to leave without incident.

I paid my airport terminal fee and proceeded to the Immigration booth to have my passport exit-stamped. The agent scanned my passport and then called a supervisor over. The two conferred. They asked me my name and I gave them my name: Annalisa Vicente Enrile. They said I was on the watchlist.

I asked them what that meant and what was a watchlist. They said I couldn't leave the country; that I needed to get clearance from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. They then returned my boarding pass, having written "offloaded" on it. They also returned my passport.

As it was already quite late, I had my bags taken off the plane and proceeded to a friend's house so I could wait for office hours. The next day, I went to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation where they told me I had to file an affidavit of denial because the name on the "watchlist" didn't have a middle name nor a birthdate on it. I had to seek the help of a lawyer to prepare this affidavit. When I tried to file the affidavit of denial, the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation told me to get clearance from the Department of Justice. By this time, I was so exhausted and traumatized that I asked a lawyer-friend to help me get the clearance.

At the Department of Justice, she was told to get a clearance for me from NICA. At NICA, she was told to go back to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.

Today, August 8th, we were told by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation that we should go to the Department of Justice. At this point, it became clear that this process was one of intimidation and harassment, that there was actually no legal nor ethical basis to hold me in the Philippines and to prevent me from returning to my home country.

This is such an overt violation of my civil and human rights that I decided to seek the help of the US Embassy in Manila, which in accordance with the stated foreign policy of the US government, should be in support of open, clear and democratic processes, and should be fostering respect for civil and human rights, first and foremost for it's own citizens. –

Annalisa Vicente Enrile,
Ph.D., MSW Assistant Professor
University of Southern California
School of Social Work

Related article:
Shades of Martial Law Under Arroyo's Regime
Hold Departure Order "Lifted" on GABNet 3

Photo above of Rosca, Enrile & Mirkinson at the Aug. 11, 2007 press conference courtesy of Arkibong Bayan

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