NU's Troy Rike: I was arrested for being an 'illegal alien'

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

National University's Troy Rike, 22, was detained at the Bureau Immigration's main office in Manila for 24 hours on September 19.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — National University Bulldog and Gilas Pilipinas Cadet Troy Rike revealed to CNN Philippines that he was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for being an illegal alien.

Rike was reportedly arrested on September 19 after a game against the De La Salle Green Archers at the Mall of Asia Arena. He was approached in the mall's parking lot by three immigration officers at 5 p.m., and was served an arrest warrant, stating that he was an illegal alien studying without a visa.

"Even when they were in the parking lot, I was saying I'm a Filipino, I'm a citizen. Why am I being arrested? I haven't committed a crime," he told CNN Philippines' Sports Desk Friday.

The 22-year-old Filipino-American player, however, argued that even if he arrived in May with an American passport, he has dual citizenship and is, therefore, allowed to reside and study in the Philippines.

Rike was detained at the BI's main office in Manila for 24 hours.

"It was tough I'm not gonna lie. I got emotional on the way there, I've never been arrested before. It was a regular vehicle. The good thing everyone was very respectful. But at the end of the day, I'm being detained against my will for more than 24 hours, you sleep on the floor, you don't know what's going on. I'm questioning my whole future here," he said.

The following day, the player produced his passport, certificate of recognition as Filipino citizen as well as his birth certificate for proof of his citizenship. He was then released at 6 p.m.

But while Rike understood the situation, he felt the BI's actions were not justified.

"I've only been here for a little bit. I'm not gonna pretend to know the intricacies of the law here. I don't think it was justified what they did. I don't think they do this in general just rounding up Americans, saying show me your papers so I do feel I was singled out and that's not okay in my opinion," he said.

Despite this, Rike said he will not pursue legal action against the government bureau.

"I don't want to go after people or wish them ill will. I just want to be left alone. I just want to play basketball. I don't care about politics. I just want to play basketball," he said.

BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval said Rike's arrest went under normal procedure.

"We act on any report or information that we receive from the public. So kung may natatanggap tayo na [If we received an] information about a possible immigration violation, we act on it. So not necessarily targeting specific people," Sandoval told Sports Desk.

She added there is no pending case against Rike.