Chris Brown grounded in Manila

MANILA • American hip-hop star Chris Brown, barred from leaving the Philippines over a row with a powerful religious sect, insisted in a foul-mouthed rant yesterday that he had done nothing wrong.

The 26-year-old's private jet remains grounded at Manila airport two days after he performed at a concert in the capital, amid a fraud complaint filed against him by the indigenous Christian group Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ).

"Can somebody please tell me what the f*** is going on? I don't know. I'm reading headline after headline. What the f***? What the f*** is going on," the pierced and tattooed singer said in a video post on his official Instagram account that later appeared to have been taken down.

Brown, whose profanity-laden catalogue includes songs such as Wet The Bed and Body Shots, has 12 million followers on the popular photo-sharing service.

The justice department said the row erupted after Brown failed to show up for a scheduled New Year's Eve concert at an Iglesiaowned indoor arena on Manila's northern outskirts last year.

Earlier press reports quoted him as saying he was unable to travel to the Philippines at the time because he had lost his passport.

The immigration bureau said he must prove there were no grounds to charge him with fraud before he is allowed to leave the country. State prosecutors are studying the Iglesia complaint.

Brown's video appeared to have been taken in a hotel room, with soda cans and snacks scattered on tables. His companions were sprawled on couches, wrapped in white blankets.

In a second video post, Brown raised both hands in the air and said: "I didn't do nothing."

He then break-danced in front of a giant flat screen television that was showing computer games.

He was smiling and appeared playful in both videos, posted in the early hours of yesterday.

The Grammy-winning singer has not left the Philippines, contrary to an American media report that he has left for Hong Kong, a Bureau of Immigration spokesman said.

Press reports said he was holed up in a Manila hotel two days after his Tuesday concert at another Manila venue.

Although a minority in the Philippines where 80 per cent of its 100 million people are Catholics, the Iglesia ni Cristo wields considerable political clout.

The sect, which has about two to three million members according to media reports, votes as a bloc during elections.

Brown's botched concert was supposed to be a showcase of the sect's Philippine Arena, the country's largest indoor stadium, which was built last year to mark its 100th anniversary.

Fans cheered and jeered Brown on his Instagram posts.

"Pay your debts, estafa (fraud) boy," Erwin John Antonio Capili (threetothehead7) commented.

"You might as well go to Palawan, while you're still here. Enjoy the beaches we have," Rach Mapa (rachelismbebe) said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline 'Chris Brown grounded in Manila'. Print Edition | Subscribe