NBI files criminal charges vs BI officers for falsification

The National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday filed before the Department of Justice charges of falsification of public documents against two immigration officers assigned at Mactan, Cebu International Airport and at the Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for allegedly making it appear that former Wirecard COO Jan Marsalek entered the country on June 23 and left a day after.

In a complaint, the NBI also asked the DOJ to prosecute Perry Michael Pancho and Marcus Nicodemus for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards among government officials and employees in relation to Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Pancho was assigned at the MCIA while Nicodemus was assigned at NAIA.

The bureau started its investigation immediately after it received information that Marsalek had entered the country on June 23 in order to evade the ongoing investigation of the $2.2 billion Wirecard fraud in Germany.

Marsalek is being pursued by German authorities for the reported multi-billion dollar fraud.

He was dismissed from his post amid Wirecard's claims they had $2.1 billion in funds placed under the trust of two banks in the Philippines that later went missing.

However, the NBI said its investigation showed that it was not possible for Marsalek to enter the country at the height of the travel restrictions imposed as part of the effort of the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The investigation showed that Mr. Marsalek’s most recent travel records to the country include spurious ones, to wit: Arrival on June 23, 2020 at NAIA Terminal 1 processed by a certain IO Darren Ilagan but with a mysterious “cancelled by user” remark, and a departure on June 24, 2020 at Mactan International Airport processed by IO Perry Michael Pancho,” the NBI complaint stated.

The bureau also said its probers from the International Airport Investigation Division were able to find out that Ilagan was not in the official list of immigration officers on duty for midnight flight schedule on June 23.

“Likewise, Mr. Marsalek’s departure is spurious based on the following: CCTV footages at the MCIA on June 24, 2020 showing that the BI counters are unmanned because there are no available flights immediately before and after the supposed spurious flights, absence of an actual scanned data page of Mr. Marsalek’s passport,” the NBI said.

“The entries on the BI records for June 23 and 24, 2020, both spurious, appear to be mere diversionary in order to divert the attention of the authorities in Europe to focus its attention in the Philippines and not in their jurisdiction,” it added.

The complaint said a certification was also issued by the Philippine Airport Ground Staff/ Cebu Station Flight Dispatcher indicating that such flight was cancelled since February 1 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

It added that their probe also showed that Pancho was also not in the official list of immigration officers on duty for the morning schedule of June 24 and “thus believed to have merely went beyond his duty to encode the same.”

Immigration protocols mandated that when a passenger presented himself or herself at the immigration counter for arrival or departure formalities, the assigned immigration officer must perform a derogatory check on him or her.

By doing so, the immigration officer would be able to know if a passenger had derogatory record or outstanding warrant of arrest, inclusion in hold departure order or in the immigration’s watchlist or blacklist.

But the NBI said the derogatory record check might also be cancelled by the immigration officer by encoding a “cancelled” remark, thus, the next officer should be able to see such and thus be notified of the status when the same passenger resurfaces at the BI counter for departure formalities.

“In this case, the next immigration officer should be able to act accordingly which was contrary to what IO Pancho did when he still encoded a departure record on Mr. Marsalek. It was discovered that the IO Supervisor for the March 5 departure of Mr. Marsalek, a certain Marcus Nicodemus was also the Duty Supervisor on June 23, 2020,” the NBI stressed.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed that Marsalek first travelled to the country on March 3 and left on March 5 before the restrictions were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBI said only Ilagan showed up when invited for questioning and that he disclosed that Nicodemus ordered the derogatory record of Marsalek and that when he realized it was wrong, he immediately encoded a remark “cancelled” by the user to notify the next immigration officer to act accordingly.

“He added that it was after a few days when he realized that he was made a victim of a “pabokol scheme” where some of his co-workers and superiors made a seemingly harmless and significant request for their personal interests and benefits,” the NBI said.

At the same time, the NBI said there were no indications that Marsalek was still in the country since he left on March 5 via Qatar Airways.

Topics: Department of Justice , National Bureau of Investigation , Jan Marsalek , Wirecard , Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Perry Michael Pancho , Marcus Nicodemus
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