NAIA BI officer allegedly mistreated PH chess grandmaster for interrupting his cellphone game

By Benjie Lim Vergara

Filipino Chess Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio

A BUREAU of Immigration officer assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport allegedly maltreated one of the country’s chess grandmaster recently after he was “disturbed” with a polite inquiry about the terminal fee refund by the renowned chess player while he was reportedly engrossed playing a cellular phone game.

Filipino Chess Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio said he got the “treatment” of his life from an on duty BI officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 after he mistakenly interrupted his “game.”

GM Antonio is among the international chess players participating in the 15th Merdeka Chess Festival 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was awarded the title Chess Grandmaster in 1993 by the World Chess Federation or FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs).

Through social media, GM Antonio narrated that after checking-in for his August 16 flight at the AirAsia airlines counter, and his travel document was already cleared at the BI booth, he approached an Immigration Officer (IO) who was allegedly playing cellphone games, to ask where he could find the Manila International Airport Authority refund booth.

According to the grandmaster, he politely greeted the government employee but to his surprise, the officer suddenly yelled and rudely told him to go to another table where he could make a query.

Disappointed by the action of the immigration officer, Antonio advised the man who was identified only as “Perez” to keep his voice down.

However, the irate immigration officer even threatened him, “Salita ka pa baka hindi ka makaalis ng Pinas (one more word and you can’t leave the country).”

This led him to introduced himself and name drop some people working at the BI prompting Perez to change his attitude. He later apologized to GM Antonio.

The grandmaster said he tried to get the full name of Perez but failed. He added that some of his colleagues even went as far as hiding his name.

“But I know their faces,” the grandmaster said as he bared plans to file an administrative complaint against Perez to teach him a lesson on how to properly deal with the public.


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Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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