NEW YORK—Filipina TV host and actress Mariel Rodriguez was detained by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for three hours at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Thursday, despite being a US Citizen.
The actress’ husband Robin Padilla broke the news in Manila ,via TV5’s news outlets InterAksyon.com and News5.
According to Robin’s account, upon disembarking from the aircraft, Mariel was escorted by DHS agents to answer some questions.
Mariel corroborated Robin’s story with News5 via direct message on social media.
“Yes I was questioned hehehe. They were waiting for me outside the plane. Akala ko VIP ako hahaha!,” she told News5 on Twitter.
“Funny part is, I’m a US citizen hehehe. Of course okay pa rin. delayed 3hrs na homeland security pa only means I will have a great trip,” Mariel added.
The TV host flew to New York to be with her US-based father, who is scheduled to “undergo an ablation surgery for a heart ailment,” reported InterAksyon.com.
Robin expressed his desire to join his wife on this trip, but was understandably frustrated at being unable to secure a US visa.
“Uncle Sam! Ako rin naman ay may dugong Amerikano. Intindihin mo naman ako. Wala naman ako binabalak na masama sa Amerika. I love America! God bless America!” Robin said in an interview with News5.
An InterAksyon.com news report intimated that Robin’s previous incarceration in the late 1990’s (for illegal possession of firearms), his conversion to Islam, and his support for Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s claim on Sabah may have cast a negative light when he was being evaluated by US Embassy officials in Manila.
Robin told News5 that he believes his wife Mariel was accosted by DHS agents because of him.
Since marrying Mariel in 2010, Robin has been wanting to fly to the US to be able to meet Mariel’s dad.
“Yun lang naman ang gusto ng asawa ko. Ang magkita na kami ng tatay niya at pormal kong mahingi ang kamay ng dalaga niya,” he explained to News5.
(With reports from News5 and InterAksyon.com)
(LA Weekend June 22-25, 2013 Sec B pg.1)