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The great escape: NBI charges BI agents for falsifying disgraced ex-Wirecard COO’s travel records

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By Nancy Carvajal

Two immigration officers are facing falsification charges for faking the travel records of former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek to mislead investigators, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Wednesday (August 12).

The NBI –International Airport Division headed by Palmer Mallari recommended the prosecution of IO’s Perry Michael Q.Pancho of the Mactan Cebu, International Airport (MCIA) and Marcus S. Nicodemus, who is assigned at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Pancho and Nicodemus were charged with falsification of public documents and violation of Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials before the Office of the Prosecutors at the Department of Justice on August 7.

The NBI, however, cleared immigration officer Darren Ilagan despite encoding Marsalek’s fake arrival in the country on June 23.

Ilagan claimed in his affidavit that he was a victim of the “pabukol scheme” at the BI where co-workers and superiors ask him to do something for them. He said he was ordered by Nicodemus to do the check on Marsalek.

The immigration officer said he tried to correct and encoded “cancelled by user’’ when he realized that the check on Marsalek’s records was a mistake.

According to an NBI report, Pancho and Nicodemus were able to fake Marsalek’s travel records at the Bureau of Immigration’s database following the removal of certain protocols aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

On April 24, 2020 the Bureau of Immigration Management Information Systems Department (MISD) deactivated protocols for live scanning of fingerprints of arriving and departing passengers to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The entries on the BI records for June 23 and 24 , 2020 were spurious, appeared to be mere diversionary in order to divert the authorities in Europe to focus its attention to the Philippines,” the report read.

On June 1, the MISD also deactivated facial capture protocol and instead relied on the physical scanning of passport page. It meant that arriving and departing passengers will have the data page of their passports scanned in the system, but not their fingerprints and facial captures.

Based on the NBI’s investigation, there was no indication that Marsalek arrived in the country in June, as stated in his falsified travel records.

Marsalek has been a fugitive following the scandal over Wirecard’s “missing” $2.1 billion.

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