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Chris Brown leaves Philippines after wait due to legal issue

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chris Brown finally left the Philippines late Friday, but not without complications.

The 26-year-old R&B artist performed at a packed concert in Manila on Tuesday, then wasn’t able to leave because a fraud complaint was filed against him and a promoter for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve.

In a series of social media postings during the delay, most of them since deleted, he said “I’ve done nothing wrong,” expressed frustration over being stranded and pleaded to be allowed to leave.

Late Friday afternoon, Brown was able to obtain the certificate permitting him to leave, Immigration Bureau spokeswoman Elaine Tan said. He visited the bureau’s extension office, not the downtown Manila office staked out by dozens of journalists, to get the clearance.

At the airport, Brown and others were seen walking to the private plane. Before he boarded, he invited Filipinos to join him in a party in Macau.

“Manila, it was fun. I love y’all, man. If you can come to Macau, party tonight! Turn up,” he said in a video posted on Instagram.

But once the group boarded, a three-hour wait followed and the plane wasn’t permitted to go to Macau because of a flight plan discrepancy.

The plane left at 9:04 p.m. local time en route to Hong Kong, civil aviation authority spokesman Eric Apolonio said. He explained that Brown’s original approved flight plan had Hong Kong as its destination and wasn’t revised for unclear reasons.

During the delay, Brown missed a concert in Hong Kong that has not yet been rescheduled.

In a later Instagram video, Brown called Macau “popping” in apparent celebration of his arrival.

He said he returned to Manila to make up for the canceled New Year’s Eve concert. The initial performance was to be at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena, operated by a corporation owned by the politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo religious group.

In its complaint, the Maligaya Development Corp. alleged Brown and promoter John Michael Pio Roda canceled after being paid in full for a $1 million contract. The organizers said they were told at the time that Brown lost his passport and couldn’t make the concert.

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said late Friday that Pio Roda is being detained at a bureau detention center because a complaint against him alleges he was working in the country without a permit and absconded or ran away from his debt.

Because of the complaint, Brown was required to obtain an emigration clearance to leave. Tan said it was given after “verifying that Chris Brown has no other derogatory record apart from the (immigration lookout bulletin)” that was issued Wednesday.

In a tweet since deleted, Brown said: “This is a very serious situation and someone needs to be held accountable for mixing my name up in all this.”

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said state prosecutors will summon Brown for a preliminary investigation into the complaint, but his presence at that stage of the criminal proceedings can be waived. Charges will be filed in court if prosecutors find probable cause to charge Brown and the promoter.

“What is important at this point is for him to know that there are criminal proceedings against him at the preliminary investigation level,” De Lima told reporters.

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