The immigration officer who barraged a passenger with “irrelevant” questions, among them a request to show her yearbook causing the passenger to miss her flight to Israel, has been relieved from his post, according to Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Dana Sandoval.

“Because of this incident, he has been relieved from his post. So he has been reassigned to a back-end office as a result of this incident,” Sandoval said during an interview with CNN Philippines.

Freelance writer Cham Tanteras shared on social media that she failed to board her plane to Israel in December 2022 because of a lengthy interview at the immigration counter. The immigration officer, she said, asked her to show her college yearbook.

However, Sandoval said that the officer had denied asking for a yearbook.

“When the officer described the incident, he described it as just a regular secondary inspection, similar to what he does every day,” she said.

Sandoval said there was a “lack of communication” between the officer and the passenger.

“Wherein he might not have been able to explain properly to the passenger what just happened and why were additional questions being asked, why was she undergoing secondary inspection. That’s why there was a misunderstanding on what was happening,” she said.

The BI spokesperson said that the BI does not require travelers to bring their yearbooks, graduation photos and diplomas before they fly overseas. 

“It is not a normal question to ask, especially since the passenger is an adult already. So there’s no real relationship — the question really has no relationship with the purpose of the travel or with the details of her travel,” she said.

“So this is also one of the things that we are looking into as to why these questions have been asked by the Immigration officer when in fact they do not have any bearing on the circumstances of the travel,” she added.

Ronald Espartinez