MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it has recommended the prosecution of two (2) Bureau of Immigration Officers before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for falsifying travel records of an Austrian national with criminal records.
NBI Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Director Eric B. Distor identified the Immigration Officers (IO) as PERRY MICHAEL Q. PANCHO, IO assigned at Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and MARCUS S. NICODEMUS, IO at NAIA Terminal 1, Pasay City.
OIC Director Distor said that on June 25, 2020, when reports came out that Austrian national JAN MARSALEK, the subject in the US 2.2 Billion Dollar Wirecard fraud in Germany, had entered the Philippines on June 23, 2020 in order to evade authorities in Europe, operatives of NBI-International Airport Investigation Division (NBI-IAID) headed by HA Palmer Mallari, conducted an investigation.
OIC Director Distor said the investigation showed that MARSALEK’s most recent travel records to the country include spurious ones, to wit: Arrival on June 23, 2020 at NAIA 1 processed by a certain IO Darren R. Ilagan but with a mysterious “cancelled by user” remark, and a Departure on June 24, 2020 at Mactan Cebu International Airport processed by IO Perry Michael Pancho.
The investigation also showed that records were found to be spurious due to the following: Existing immigrations protocol as of that date disallowing passengers in entering Philippine territory due to the COVID situation; Absence of actual scanned data page of the passport of Marsalek; Existing protocol that incoming flights of airlines disallowing the boarding of a passenger who will be prevented entry based on the destination country’s protocol as of flight date; and IO Ilagan was not in the official list of IOs on duty for midflight schedule on that date and thus believed to have merely went beyond his duty to encode the same.
Likewise, 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 actual scanned data page of the passport but a page of an unknown passport with the stamp of the Bureau of Quarantine; Certification issued by Philippine Airport Ground Staff (PAGS)/Cebu Station Flight Dispatcher indicating that such flight was cancelled since February 1, 2020 due to COVID situation; Impossibility of Marsalek to be in Cebu the morning of June 24 after his arrival in Manila in the evening of June 23; and IO Perry Michael Pancho was not in the official list of IOs on duty for the morning schedule on June 24, 2020 and thus believed to have merely went beyond his duty to encode the same.
According to MISD protocol, when a passenger presents himself at the Immigrations Counter for arrival or departure formalities, the assigned IO performs a derogatory check. By doing so, the IO would be able to know if a passenger has derogatory record (outstanding Warrant of Arrest inclusion in hold departure list or watchlist, blacklisted). This derogatory record check may also be cancelled by the IO by encoding a “cancelled by user” remark. As a consequence, the next user should be able to see such and thus be notified of the status when the same passenger resurfaces at the BI counter for the departure formalities. In this case, the next IO should be able to act accordingly which was contrary to what IO PANCHO did when he still encoded a departure record on MARSALEK. It was discovered that the IO Supervisor for the March 5, 2020 departure of MARSALEK, a certain IO MARCOS NICODEMUS was also the duty supervisor on June 23, 2020.
When IOs ILAGAN and PANCHO were summoned by the NBI, only the former appeared. In his affidavit, he alleged, among others, that the idea of conducting a derogatory record check on MARSALEK was the order of his supervisor IO NICODEMUS. He further alleged that when he realized it’s wrong, he immediately encoded a remark “canceled by user” in order 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 also said that there are no indications that MARSALEK is still in the country due to the confirmation that he indeed arrived on March 3, 2020 at NAIA 3 via Qatar Airways and departure flight on March 5, 2020 also via Qatar Airways and the absence of a genuine arrival thereafter. 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.
On August 7, the NBI recommended to the Department of Justice the prosecution of Immigration Officers PERRY MICHAEL Q. PANCHO and MARCUS S. NICODEMUS for Falsification of Public Documents by a Public Official under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) in relation to RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).