Things are getting worse for half-tongan half-filipino Paulasi Taulava (206-C-73, college: BYU-Hawaii) because of his dual passport. He has been suspended by the Philipines Basketball Association (PBA) for his dubious citizenship. The Bureau of Immigration is ready to deport 5 others players for the same problem in the so-called "Fil-Sham" case.
Eight professional PBA players allegedely fakes their citizenship papers to justify playing in the Philipines lucrative league. Two of them -Andy Siegle and Dorian Pena- were cleared by the Justice Departement. The deportation process started for 5 players including Michael Pennisi (203-F-75, college: E.Michigan). Michael's brother David Pennisi (208-C-78) is australian and he was playing in the australian NBL last year, he's now playing in Italy. Asi Paulava's case is still up in the air.
His lawyers thought their managed to prove Asi's filipino's roots but the US Department of Homeland Security informed the Bureau of Immigration that Taulava and his mother Pauline are permanent residents of the USA. Official records from the US agency showed that Pauline Taulava was born Pauline Mateeaki on July 13, 1946 in Vaotu'u Tongatapu, Tonga. Her father and mother were also natives of Tonga. For the Court, this is the proof that she faked her birth certificate to make it appear that she was born in Samar, Philipines, and that she and her son have filipino roots.
Asi Taulava's lawyers were able to obtain an injuction with the Manilla Regional Trial Court to stop the Bureau from start deportation proceedings against him. The Bureau is now trying to lift this injuction.
PBA comissioner Noli Eala suspended Asi Taulava for an undefined time despite the fact that Asi is allowed to play because of the Court injuction. The players filed a P1.2-million damage suit against the PBA commissioner.
We hope that Paulasi Taulava's situation will be cleared as soon as possible and we are looking forward to see him again on the basketball court. In Philipines or everywhere else.