Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Certificate of Not the Same Person

First of all, I'd like to clarify that the poor system has been brought upon by the previous governments. The lack of proper coordination among the agencies (trial courts, police, NBI, Bureau of Immigration) and lack of use of appropriate technology in the previous governments led to the entire hassle of securing the NTSP.  (Take note of the S after government meaning I'm not being specific and I meant previous governments as is. I intend for this post to help and not cause comment war. Hopefully, President Duterte can have this fixed as well. There already have been lots of positive changes that I have personally seen under the Duterte administration and I hope this becomes one of those soon.

Now to the main topic... if you're reading this then it means you have or someone you know has a namesake with criminal record. And you've been told by airport-immigration to secure a Certificate of Not the Same Person or next time you might not be allowed to leave the country.

And since you're here, you've probably also visited 
from which you can download the application form and a checklist. 

The site also tells you that:

You need to apply at the Bureau of Immigration's Main office. 
That it costs 500 pesos.
That you need the following:
1. Duly accomplished application for Certificate of Not the Same Person (BI Form No. CCS-A-NSTP- 2016)
2. Signed and Sealed Court Clearance duly issued by the concerned Court or Agency that issued the 
Order, Letter Request or Warrant of Arrest to include the person in the Bureau’s derogatory list. The
Court or Agency MUST CERTIFY WITH CERTAINTY that the applicant is NOT THE SAME PERSON as that of the Accused or Respondent based on their records of the case.
3. NBI Clearance

Now let me talk about what you probably don't know yet. Below are the things you need to make sure of and a list of other documents (not listed above) you need to secure before applying for a Certificate of Not the Same person or NTSP. Also, this is based on our experience and we're just sharing so you won't have to go through the same hassle that we did. 

1. You have to make sure that the Bureau of Immigration has given you the correct MTC (Municipal Trial Court) or RTC (Regional Trial Court) address. Call or go to the trial court in your area to get the information. Be ready to provide the criminal case number and the branch number. To double make sure: you may compare the information you got with the list here . Although, we're not sure how accurate that is either.

What happened to us was the BI officer at the airport gave us the wrong court address. So we ended up going to three cities in one day. That's not fun when you have other appointments.

2.  How to get the court clearance? We have been to 1 municipal trial court and two regional trial courts and they all have different requirements. So you may not need exactly all four but better bring them all just to be sure. Or just call concerned court about their requirements. Requirements are requirements so don't expect them to entertain you when you're lacking one.

Here's the list:
a. Affidavit of Denial - notarized and sealed (We paid 200 pesos and got four copies)
b. Cedula or Community Tax Certificate - original and photocopy
c. Police Clearance (from your place of residence) - original and photocopy
d. Valid ID/s and photocopy - Do not take the photocopies for granted. The second RTC that we went to didn't have a photocopying machine service and the nearest was about ten minutes walk-away. 

Example: In this particular RTC, the affidavit of denial is not enumerated on their list but the second RTC we went to asked for it. The second RTC however didn't ask for the cedula. Again, there's difference in the requirements.

Also, the courts have dress codes. Do NOT wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and slippers (← not indicated in this RTC but was so in the other RTC we went to.) They will not let you in even if you came from Mars or another universe. It doesn't matter if it's a scorching hot day either. For ladies, if you're wearing a sleeveless top, you might be able to get away by putting a shawl over just like I did. But now that you know about it, why risk it? 

We paid 50 pesos/page for the Certificate of Not the Same Person.

Please note the cashier closes at exactly 4 pm on their clock. Even if it's 3:59 pm on your watch but 4 p.m. on theirs, they will not accept your payment and you will have to go back the next working day even if you came from Neptune or hell. You need the O.R. attached or the O.R. number written on your court clearance otherwise it's still invalid even if it's signed and sealed.

It's possible to secure the court clearance in one day but sometimes the signing officer is not present (just like in the first RTC that we went to but it was the wrong RTC anyway). They won't allow anyone else to sign and they can't mail the document to you either. Again, better call the concerned court and ask if signing officer is present before actually going.

I don't how many times I mentioned "just to be sure" but that should give you an idea of the trouble we went through. Again, this is based on our experience. There's no need to compare it with yours. We just hope, you have it much easier and hope this post helps even in the littlest way.

That's all for now. Keep smiling!

p.s. We'd like to thank the ladies at the Clerk's office of San Mateo RTC for helping us out and pointing us to our correct RTC.

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