We got there late (around 9:30 a.m.–yes, that’s late already apparently) so there was already a line of some 50 to 70 people. This would take a couple of hours, we say. We had to get to the office but we needed the NBI Clearance too. What to do? What to do?

We experimented. We wanted to see if it was true that you can get fixers to “take care” of you.

While we were at the back of the line, someone in red approaches us. He seems like he works for NBI Las Pinas. He then says, “Nako, kung pipila kayo, suwerte na kayo pag matapos kayo ng ala-una.” (If you fall in line, you’ll be lucky if you can finish by one o’clock).

So we ask him if there was a quicker way. He asks us to follow him. He leads us into a sari-sari store near the entrance of the NBI office. He tells us to wait there. “Dyan lang kayo.” (Stay there). He talks to someone. Tells us we’re his neighbors. The other person approaches us and gives us a form and asks us to fill it out then give it to him after. The first guy then goes to us and says, “Kayo na bahala saken ah. Nandon lang ako sa parkingan.” (Real Translation: Just give me the amount of whatever you think is right. I’ll just be there in the parking lot). Apparently, he was just a parking attendant.

After waiting for our turn to get our fingers thumbmarked, we get called. The one in-charge of taking thumb prints unabashedly and crudely asks us for P10 then hands us two small packets with wet ones inside. We each give him P20 but he doesn’t give us our change back. Fingerprints, done. The second guy then goes out, gets our papers then asks for the payment. We give him P200 each. He then warns us that there could be other people in the Philippines with the same name as ours. We say, “Okay.”

While waiting, we watched the other get their fingerprints done. We notice that the person in-charge of doing this does not voluntarily give the change to people unless they ask him for it. Some ask for their change three times.

We also notice more NBI Las Pinas personnel sneak some people in and out of their office. Apparently, the “Only NBI employees are allowed at this point” sign or something to that effect is not followed.

After a couple of minutes, the guy comes out and true to what we thought, our names register other records with the same names. The guy gives us our receipts (P153 if I remember correctly–remember, we gave him P200 each) and tells us to come back after 10 days for our clearances.

We then leave the premises. We don’t look for the parking attendant. Hey, we didn’t get our clearances anyway.

We don’t know if our names really registered other people with the same names. Three or four people ahead of us had the same cases. Is this the new style of NBI Las Pinas personnel to get people to pay them extra so they can be cleared and own their names? If we had offered to pay extra (tip?), would they have released our clearances then and there?

We don’t know.

We would just like to call on the proper authorities to check on the NBI office in Las Pinas. Maybe just to observe. We don’t really think that they are practicing the right ways to serve the public.

People who are willing to shell out money get prioritized?

We can go out on a limb and say that the NBI Office in Las Pinas is full of corrupt people but that is just accusing them. We tried to get video of what was happening but we were afraid the people there would see us. There were many fixers and employees moving around (looking for other victims, perhaps?).

We hope that the NBI and Las Pinas City Hall can look into this.

We want our names back.