After being stuck for two days in Manila, American hip-hop artist Chris Brown was finally allowed to board his chartered plane and leave the country.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, the Gulf Stream jet is still awaiting flight clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), airport sources told The Manila Times.
According to Bureau of Immigration spokesman Elaine Tan, Brown was granted an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).
Earlier on Friday, CAAP extended the aircraft’s permit to stay, its ground handler, Asian Institute of Aviation, said.
The US-registered Gulf Stream jet arrived on Tuesday with Brown for a one-night concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
He was scheduled to depart on Wednesday for Hong Kong when the Bureau of Immigration (BI) prevented him from leaving the country.
The BI’s move stemmed from the Justice department issuing a Lookout Bulletin Order against the US artist after the politically influential sect, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) filed a fraud complaint against him, saying it is owed a million-dollar-plus refund for skipping a concert last year at the INC-owned Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Earlier on Friday, the Grammy winner made a video where he desperately appealed that
he be let go.
Brown got down on his knees begging that he be allowed to resume his world tour.
“Please, please, let us leave, please,” Brown said in a video posted on his official Instagram account, showing him on his knees inside what appeared to be his hotel room. The post was later taken down.
Brown ended the plea with his signature backflip.
He also appeared to send a thinly veiled distress signal to US President Barack Obama as he captioned the post: “OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!”
In two subsequent Twitter posts, Brown said, “This is a very serious situation and someone needs to be held accountable for mixing my name up in all this. I’ve done nothing wrong!!!”
He added, “I have nothing to do with anything going on right now. I came back to Manila to do a make-up show for New Year’s. I did the show three days ago.”
Brown performed to a packed crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday.
But he failed to show up on December 31 last year for a concert sponsored by INC at its mammoth 55,000-seater indoor Philippine Arena.
Brown has reportedly said he lost his passport at the time so he could not travel.
The Justice department barred him from leaving on Wednesday unless he produces a government document certifying he has no legal obligations in the country.
World tour in peril
The Immigration bureau has said Brown has not applied for such document, and the Justice department on Thursday appointed a state prosecutor to prepare the filing of fraud charges against him.
Brown’s Twitter posts were re-tweeted close to 2,000 times just minutes after the hip-hop star uploaded them.
He has more than 14 million followers on the micro-blogging site, and 12 million on the photo-sharing platform Instagram.
A playful, bewildered Brown posted a foul-mouthed rant on his Instagram also on Thursday as he break-danced apparently to make light of his predicament.
But his tone was more serious on Friday as the stops of his world tour drew nearer.
Brown is scheduled to perform in Israel and Cyprus next week before returning to the US for more concert dates, according to his website.
When asked about Brown’s case, US Embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer told Agence France-Presse also on Friday, “The embassy assists its citizens who are in need.”
BI officials as well as Brown’s promoter and spokeswoman were unavailable for comment also on Friday.
Brown and his promoter were paid more than $1 million by a production outfit identified with the INC to perform at the Philippine Arena, according to the Iglesia complaint.
The outfit demanded a refund but both Brown and his promoter refused to pay, it alleged.
The sect is a minority in the Philippines — where 80 percent of its 100 million people are Catholics — but wields considerable political clout.
It has between two and three million members according to media and votes as a bloc during elections.
The Brown saga was the latest case of Western entertainers riling Filipino groups and politicians.
The Beatles were stripped of police escorts at the end of their 1966 Manila tour after they snubbed a party invite from then-President Ferdinand Marcos’ flamboyant wife Imelda Marcos.
The Fab Four were forced to run a gauntlet of angry fans as they boarded their plane.
Michael Jackson was forced to move his concert venue in 1996 after the mayor of Manila refused to host his show because of child molestation charges against the US star.
In 2012, flamboyant American pop star Lady Gaga’s show was closely monitored by state censors for blasphemous imagery.
Last March, two members of British boyband One Direction who were known to have smoked marijuana each paid a safety bond before they could perform.