Remember the Filipino traveler who missed her flight to Israel after an immigration officer's alleged incessant questioning that included showing her graduation yearbook? She said the officer also took her phone and checked her emails.
In an interview with TeleRadyo on Monday, March 20, Cham Tanteras said the officer asked if she had booked her flight on her own. She said yes and was ready to show the printed copy of her confirmation, only for the officer to say that he'll check it himself.
"Sabi niya, siya raw magche-check sa phone ko. So siya yung nagscroll sa emails sa phone ko," Tanteras said.
Prior to that, she was also asked whether or not her parents are separated and whether or not she has finished college. Upon saying she graduated 10 years ago, Tanteras said she was asked for proof by showing her yearbook.
Noting that it's too heavy and impractical to bring during travel, especially to Israel, she was instead asked for her graduation photo. She's able to show a wacky shot she had on her phone, only for the officer to ask if it was really her as she's supposedly "fat" there.
Tanteras was also asked to fill out a border control questionnaire form and write an essay about boodle and freelancing, making her miss her flight. Costing her P19,000 for the missed flight, she had no choice but to book another one the very next day for P27,000.
Tanteras also told TeleRadyo that her being a lone traveler on Christmas to Israel might be the reason why the officer asked a lot of questions. She clarified that she went there only as a tourist.
"Nagsabi ako na magta-travel ako for Christmas tapos babalik din dahil may return flight naman ako," she said. "Sinabi ko rin naman na gusto kong mag-travel alone sa Pasko, sa birthplace ni Jesus."
The officer who interviewed Tanteras has already been reassigned to a backend office, according to Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Dana Sandoval. The officer in question, Sandoval said, also denied asking Tanteras for her yearbook.
Sandoval also stressed that travelers don't need to present, much less bring, their graduation yearbook at the airport.
In an earlier statement, the BI said it has "immediately" launched an investigation, though highlighted that the agency is merely trying to prevent cases of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
Tanteras has also reportedly asked the BI for damages involving her missed flight.