MANILA – Grammy-winning singer Chris Brown has been allowed to leave the country three days after he and John Michael Pio Roda, his Canadian concert promoter, were stopped from leaving due to a suit filed by the influentiall Iglesia ni Cristo for not showing up in their concert despite receiving full payment of over $1 million.
Roda, however, was arrested in Pasay City and detained by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for immigration violations, including working in the country without a permit.
At press time, Roda was still under detention as he is facing a deportation charge for immigration violations, according to BI spokesperson Elaine Tan.
“Roda will have to remain in BI custody until his deportation case is resolved,” Tan said in a statement.
Brown and Roda have been accused of fraud by Maligaya Development Corporation (MDC), an Iglesia Ni Cristo-affiliated company.
MDC said it paid Brown and Roda more than $1 million for a New Year’s Eve concert sponsored by them last year at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria but they did not show up for the concert.
The two were barred from leaving the Philippines following Brown’s concert at the Mall of Asia Arena last July 21.
BI special prosecutor Homer Arellano, last May, charged Roda for working without the appropriate permit, for defrauding his creditors by absconding, and for undesirability.
Brown was stranded for three days in Manila in connection with the case but was able to leave the Philippines Friday night after obtaining the requisite Emigration Certificate Clearance (ECC) from the BI.
Tan explained that the American artist was issued the ECC after verifying that he had no other derogatory record apart from the Immigration Lookout Bulletin issued by the Department of Justice.
Brown is currently in Hong Kong as part of his world tour, which includes stops in Israel, Cyprus and the Netherlands.
American singer Chris Brown left a message for Filipinos after he was finally allowed to leave the Philippines. Brown posted a video on his official Twitter account, telling his Filipino fans that he loves them.
“Manila, it was fun! I love you all, man,” he said.
The preliminary investigation into the $1-million estafa complaint filed by the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) against Grammy-winner Chris Brown will proceed even if the American R&B singer has already left the country.
And if probable cause is established and the case is filed in court, which cannot proceed without the presence of the accused, Brown may be forced to return to the country either through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) or extradition.
This was assured by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima days after Brown, whose real name is Christopher Maurice Brown, was given clearance to leave the country by the Bureau of Immigration last Friday after securing an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).
De Lima pointed out that the PI may proceed even if Brown opts not to participate since such proceeding is “not a compulsory process.”
“Of course the PI will proceed (whether he’s around or not) since there is a complaint. It will have to go through the process. And yes, he may ignore the subpoena,” the Justice Secretary explained.
Since Brown has already chosen to leave the country before the subpoena was issued against him, Sec. De Lima said Brown’s flight is considered a waiver of their right to answer the allegations in the complaint.
The DOJ chief further assured that legal measures are available if in case the prosecutor decides to file the case in court.
“There is a process. If in the PI level, probable cause is established then the case will be filed in court, which cannot proceed without the presence of the accused. There are modes on how to bring the accused here like the MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) or extradition,” she explained.
De Lima further explained that estafa by swindling such as the case against Brown and Roda may have both criminal and civil aspects.
Brown’s chartered plane took off at exactly 9:04 p.m. on Friday from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Brown was in the country for a one-night concert on Tuesday. A day after his performance, the Grammy winner was barred from leaving the country.
A lookout bulletin against the American singer was issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) based on fraud charges filed by a company linked to the Iglesia ni Cristo.
Maligaya Development Corp. (MDC), which manages Ciudad de Victoria, where the Philippine Arena is located, filed an estafa case against the singer over his cancelled show at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan last New Year’s Eve.
Brown’s saga was not the first time a foreign celebrity has attracted controversy in the Philippines. Others included actors Claire Danes and Alec Baldwin, who were declared persona non grata.