MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:06 p.m.) – Bureau of Immigration officials on Monday said that it has not detained any Saudi nationals "as far as the bureau is concerned."
On Monday, netizens reached out to Philstar.com about the case of Saudi Arabian Dina Ali Lasloom, who had supposedly been stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while on her way to seek asylum in Australia.
According to SAFE (Saudi Arabian Female Empowerment) Movement on Twitter, Lasloom, 24, arrived in Manila early Monday morning. "However, some airport officials took her passport away and prevented her from continuing her flight to Australia."
The statement uses the hashtag #SaveDinaAli, which has also been used to post a video of Lasloom supposedly being detained at the NAIA.
Immigration Bureau spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang told Philstar.com in a text message that the bureau "has not detained anybody with that name." She said in another message that the bureau does not have any tourists detained at the airport.
BI Port Operations Division chief Marc Red Mariñas said in a separate message that the bureau is not holding any Saudi nationals.
Mangrobang clarified, however, that the BI is not the only agency operating at NAIA.
According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to talk to media, Lasloom was transiting to Australia, which means that Immigration did not handle her travel documents.
"Dumaan lang sa airport, pero sa Philippine territory, hindi (She only passed through the airport, not Philippine territory," the source said, adding Lasloom would have no travel record with the BI because of that. The source added Lasloom did not seek asylum in the Philippines.
The source said Lasloom could have been stopped by the airline she was going to take to Australia since visa checking for Australia is done online.
According to FlightStats.com
, which tracks airport arrivals, a Philippine Airlines flight from Kuwait arrived at 3:35 a.m., around the same time that Lasloom is said to have arrived in Manila. Etihad, Alitalia and Philippine Airlines also had flights arriving from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates at 5:25 a.m.
There were no flights to Manila from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between midnight and 6 a.m. Monday.