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Apr 5, 2008

Continental refuses to board Palau president

So what if you are the president of the Republic of Palau? We still need to frisk you for security reasons.

That’s exactly what Continental Micronesia did, when Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. was about to leave Manila for Guam on Wednesday.

The incident happened on the same day that Remengesau lauded the “red carpet” reception accorded to him by the Philippine government, according to online reports.

Remengesau said it was unfortunate that the Philippine government’s efforts to extend protocols to him as president of a republic during his two-day visit were thwarted by Continental’s representative in Manila.

Continental told Philippine officials escorting the Palau president that he had to submit to the same security screening as all other passengers but the Philippine government officials disagreed, saying that doing so would be considered unprecedented and disrespectful treatment for a Head of State.

With no resolution in sight and with Remengesau declining to be frisked, the Palau president returned to his hotel, and boarded a “chartered flight” instead.

The story didn’t end there.

On Thursday, Remengesau said he wants to take the matter up with regional airlines serving Palau and the US Transportation Security Administration “so that we can ensure that respect and culturally-appropriate treatment is accorded Heads of State that will visit Palau.”

Again, the story didn’t end there.

The same Continental Micronesia flight that Remengesau had refused to take was sent steering back to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport barely an hour after it departed Manila due to a hoax bomb threat early Thursday morning, reports said.

“After more than three hours of inspection of the aircraft as well as the plane's 134 passengers and their baggage, airport officials declared the plane to be free from any explosive device.”

Does Continental also frisk CNMI Governor Fitial or Guam Governor Camacho or any heads of state?

48 comments:

Bruce A. Bateman said...

It is no more disrespectful to search a President or a Governor than it is to search a Mr. or a Dr. or a Mrs. or a pet dog.

Most of it is a feel good show for the gullible anyway. If they are going to 'save us all' by searching anyone, they should search everyone.

Otherwise, I want to be the next exception. Then, of course, it would be okay to cut someone a little security slack.

Marianas Pride said...

This is dumb. Do you think the President of the United States is frisked? He is a president, not some fricking small town representative.

Continental erred big time on this one. Shame shame...

Anonymous said...

Yes, Tommy is subject to search like anyone else.

And which one of his supporters called in a fake bomb scare as retaliation for the "insult"?

HBM said...

As the Head of State of a sovereign nation, President Remengesau deserves to be treated with much more respect than was afforded him in this case. People need to use common sense. This was a very unfortunate incident.

me said...

Governors Fitial and Camacho are not heads of state...Palau's President is.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Fitial thinks he's a Head of State.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if he is a head of a sovereign nation? Does that make him more trustworthy than I am? Idi Amin was the head of a sovereign nation, as is Muammar Gaddafi, and Vlad Putin. What about that little nutjob, Ahmidinijad? If I am willing to take off my shoes, remove metal from my body, and suffer all the other little indignities that come with air travel these days, then he should be subject to the same security screening. Either that, or he can fly "Palauan One."

lil_hammerhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lil_hammerhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lil_hammerhead said...

Porky.. Remengesau is the PRESIDENT of a Country, same as Bush, or any other President. They would certainly not be "frisked" before boarding a commercial flight. That suggestion is simply demeaning to islanders, and speaks volumes about how you regard us.

Anonymous said...

I question the use of the word "frisk." Does that mean they asked him to lean against a wall with his arms and legs spread, so they could manually pat down various areas of his body, to ensure he wasn't carrying a weapon? If so, I agree that was uncalled for, and Continental or TSA should be questioned about it. But if Wierd Elle was simply trying to sex up the post by saying "frisk," when they merely wanted Tommy to go through normal screening procedures, then it's his bad.

lil_hammerhead said...

Does it matter? They should ask him to do none of that. They should simply board him, as they'd do any other president.

Anonymous said...

To hell with that! Who says they'd "simply board" any other president? Just because someone gets elected to an office, doesn't mean they're not a potential threat. Either all passengers go through security screening, or it's not security screening. What's next? Congressmen, Senators, Governors, Chiefs of Staff, Judges, Police Officers? If you start making exceptions for political reasons, then pretty soon, it'll just be you and me being inconvenienced, and there will be more holes in the system than security.

HBM said...

But they do make exceptions for political reasons. As was pointed out above, they would not screen the President of the U.S., the Prime Minister or Emperor of Japan, etc., etc. President Remengesau is a head of state and should be granted the same courtesy. The fact that he is the head of state of a small island nation should not negate this.

Mike said...

How do you know Continental wouldn't search the President?

He doesn't fly "commercial." He rides "taxpayer." (Air Force 1).

I say that the airline employees who did this deserve a raise.

glend558 said...

Tommy should set an example, and show he isn't 'better than thou' and offer to be frisked. This dosen't mean he must be demeaned but shows he feels for and acts like his fellow citizens. The ones who vote him into his position. It would be good PR on his part to abide by the same rules everyone else must, rather than being indignent.

lil_hammerhead said...

If heads of state are going to go through security measures, as a policy.. then they all should. They aren't all subject to that policy. I know first hand, that the Governor of Hawaii does not go through security, and he isn't even a head of state. That is the point Glen.

Give me a break Mike.

Weird Elle said...

Here's Continental Micronesia's statement a day after the incident at the airport:

"United States aviation law requires that all customers comply with security procedures in order to board a flight. So unfortunately, Continental Micronesia had no choice but to deny boarding of the President and his party to ensure the safety and on-time operation of the flight for other passengers onboard. Elevated level of security has been implemented at the Manila airport and all passengers need to take this security check without any exception."

Anonymous said...

That seems like a satisfactory explanation. The airline employees don't make the rules, after all. And it does not seem unreasonable for a president--any president--to "comply with security procedures."

Anonymous said...

And what about anon's post above: which disgruntled member of Remengasau's staff or which supporter violated the law by calling a false bomb threat? It's too much of a coincidence to suppose anyone else might be responsible. And if someone traveling with him is willing to call in false terrorist threats, doesn't that show that he and the members of his entourage should be subject to whatever security procedures the rest of us must adhere to?

Anonymous said...

They read their policy.. the did not explain the fact that they don't adhere to this policy in all cases. If they say they do, they're not telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

if the Palau head of state doesn't like how he was treated then tell him to buy a private jet for himself and maybe call it "palau force 1" or a boat or something... i think that no passenger should be exempted from any screening for the safety of all alike!

Armchair Lawyer said...

According to Continental Airlines, the "blame," if any, belongs to federal statutes and regulations of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration.

Until someone does the research and ascertains which, if any or all, of these source establish the dispositive policy, we are engaging in a circle of rash judgment.

As bloggers from other parts of the world read these pages and form their opinions of the Islands, in part, on what they see here, let us adhere to a higher level of discourse, shall we?

Armchair Lawyer said...

Obviously, I meant "sources".

Anonymous said...

Give us a break, Armchair Lawyer. Shall we?

Anonymous said...

In spite of heightened security, Ninoy Aquino airport is still on the FAA's shit list as far as I know. Recently I had a roll of monofilament fishing line and some lures confiscated at one screening checkpoint in Manila. The continental rep. took it and was going to box it and gate check it, but a crisp 100 pesos bill got him to put that stuff back into my handcarry bag after it was inspected at the final screening checkpoint. Heightened security my ass.

relax already said...

can the emotions, guys. just search everyone. do you think that (were he alive) yasser arafat wouldn't be searched when flying el al?

with as much pot as they have in palau, everyone is searched flying in and out of that place.

don't believe me? ask the local airline folks why palauans are the subject for additional screening every time.

anyway, it's not a big of a deal. if you think that the country should override the security of the airlines then you are advocating the same type of corruption common in the philippines and the cnmi.

dry your eyes. they're probably red from smoking all of that ganja anyway.

Anonymous said...

He's a Palauan. He isn't 'really' a head of state is he. Palau still relies on the US for money and they still use the USD. President of Palau, LOL! I say frisk him for ICE!

HBM said...

Many nations receive financial assistance from the U.S., but that does not mean that their leaders are not entitled to respect. We disrespect the people of Palau when we disrespect the Head of State that they chose. We disrespect the people of the islands when we suggest that their leaders are not as deserving of respect as those of other nations.

Anonymous said...

Well, they're not deserving of the respect that we would show Japan's PM. These are third world small time island people who for the most part are bought and sold on a whim. Palau is no different. This far off land gets millions in US aid, the tiny country isn't really independent at all. It is a bastard child of the US Gov't, a welfare state that relies on US taxpayer dollars, yeah, just like the CNMI.

HBM said...

The U.S. spends a lot of money to defend Japan, so I don't follow the logic that Japan's PM would be worthy of respect while Palau's President would not be. There are many countries in the world, some small and some large, but with very few exceptions, we afford national leaders with the respect appropriate for their office. Sometimes national leaders do things that cause them to "unearn" that respect, but President Remengesau is not in that category.

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