I have been living and working in the Philippines for some years and because of the convenience and conscientiousness I always wanted to have the needed paper work, namely 9(g) visa and AEP, done. For processing them I always used the same law office as I somehow thought that by repeating the same process they would learn it over the time and become more efficient. How wrong I was.
The owner of the law office has impressive background, she is well known in the country and has worked/is working with political elite. By the time I chose to use them I didn’t know any of that and only later learned it from news and other sources such as wikipedia.
Unfortunately working with them has proved time after time and year after year that even Filipino/Filipina is high in the socio economic hierarchy it doesn’t ensure any level of competence or professionalism.
As I anticipated some hiccups in the process I asked to start it early and we finally got the process running about 5 months before my visa expired. I thought that 5 months would be ample time for preparing the needed documents, since they had gone through the same many times before for me and other customers, but no, it seemed that they had forgotten everything and that it was their first time to hear about 9(g) visa and AEP.
Highlights from this time (note that they still haven’t got my visa and AEP done)
- It is impossible for them to provide single list of documents I need to provide. All documents are asked one by one
- It’s absolutely impossible to first prepare all the documents and then send them for signing. All the documents must be signed one by one
- They don’t seem to have any glue what documents they need for the renewal even immigration provides a comprehensive list. Apparently they try to file the documents one by one and when they’re rejected they ask for the document immigration requested. And since immigration officers are Pinoys they will ask documents one by one too
- They kept and still keep on asking documents that have been provided to (some few times) and documents we had agreed several times them to prepare
- Instructions they give are often wrong
- They don’t proofread or understand what they do as documents were filled wrong
- Month after my visa expired they still hadn’t prepared all the needed documents, some of which are extremely simple, and instead of preparing them they started to ask them from me
- AEP is being processed again 6 months after my visa expired and 11 months after this chaos started
- All their mistakes have mystically become my mistakes
It’s 1 year from the start of the process and I have provided requested documents eight (8) times, but they still keep on asking some of them. I still don’t have visa, nor AEP and I don’t have slightest idea where we are and when I can get them as they refuse to give me status update or agree to meet.
So far I haven’t given them too much pressure or beating as I have been extremely busy and I realize that it can be counterproductive. But things are about to change. I have already asked to fire some of the people and I think I will make surprise visit to their office and sit there until I get some answers. To give them credit they haven’t asked money aside from small initial payment in the beginning that doesn’t cover even the government fees.
If they are able to finish the process I expect them to ask me to pay all their mistakes, we’re in the Philippines after all, and if I refuse they will keep my passport as hostage until I do.
As a side note, calling their secretary imbecile would be insult to real imbeciles who compared to her are on Einstein’s level. I’m not entirely sure if she can read as she hasn’t answered any of my questions, and all the emails she sends are beyond cryptic.
Like they say it’s more fun in the Philippines!Published in