Supporters protest at SFO after Filipino peace activist denied entry to U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Filipino peace activist has been denied entry into the United States and is set to board a plane back to the Philippines early Thursday morning. Activists here are demanding to know why. Customs and Border Protection insists it has nothing to do with politics.

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Supporters of Jerome Aba mobilized as soon as they realized that the peace activist from the Philippines wasn't going to get past Customs.

His plane landed at SFO Tuesday night. Aba is in a holding area until the next flight to Manila early Thursday morning. The Reverend Sadie Stone of the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns spoke to Aba over the phone at the Filipino Consulate in San Francisco.

"He sounded tired and exhausted and worn out," said Stone. "He said they kept telling him that you have no business here on U.S. soil which is very confusing because he was granted a U.S. Visa."

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But a source at Customs and Border Protection says there was an issue with his visa. No specifics were given only that it was over the process in how it was obtained.

Aba's supporters aren't buying it and are disheartened that at least for now, won't be able to learn about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Philippines from him directly.

"We want to hear the stories from the ground. From people who have experienced this and who are experiencing the human rights abuses which are happening in rural areas," said Rhonda Ramiro, vice chair of the human rights advocacy group, BAYAN-USA.

Supporters say they'll be fighting for Aba's entry into the U.S. until his scheduled flight takes off.

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