BI Fact-Finding Body Given 5 Days to Report on Garci Case
Byline: E.T. SUAREZ
Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. yesterday said he has given the fact-finding committee five days within which to come out substantially on how former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano was able to slip out of the country.
Fernandez, in an interview with Malacanang reporters, said the committee which he created was also ordered to look into the criminal and administrative liability of persons who might have helped Garcillano to leave the country surreptitiously.
He said if Garcillano had indeed found his way to Singapore, he avoided immigration procedure as shown by the fact that the manifests of all the six airlines that left the country last July 14 did not contain the name of Virgilio Garcillano.
His office, Fernandez said, will request other agencies of the government like the International Police (Interpol) to verify the manifest at the point of embarkation.
Fernandez branded as unfair the accusation that government officials worked out Garcillanos departure from the country
"I had an advisory to immigration agents, even before the warrant of arrest for Garcillano was issued by the justice committee of the House of Representatives, to be on the look out for the former Comelec commissioner," Fernandez said.
He said that when it was reported that Garcillano went to Cagayan de Oro City, he immediately checked the information with the immigration officer in that city who was directed to touch base with the local airport management and the Air Transportation Office.
"We are doing our best to work out this trail of how Garci was able to find his way to Singapore. I see no negligence on the part of immigration officers since immigration records in international airport as well as in the subport did not show any Garcilliano in the airline manifest."
If Garcillano left aboard a private plane, the owner could have violated certain airline regulations as its manifest did not contain the name Garcillano. He said the private plane is required to declare who is or who on board. He said if the general declaration shows that only the official crew is aboard, it is a normal thing as the pilot and crew are automatic part of the aircraft.
Asked if it was already established which plane was boarded by Garcillano, Fernandez said he did not like to pre-empt the investigation.
"But if it is found out that a misdeclaration was made, the party responsible will be dealt with accordingly," Fernandez said.
Justice department panel formed to probe Garci escape
By GABRIEL S. MABUTAS
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez yesterday formed a five-man fact-finding committee that would look into the so-called "escape" of former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, saying it would zero in on its investigation on individuals directly involved in it.
He issued Department Order 443 to create the panel, which he instructed to come up with findings within 30 days.
This, in light of the confirmation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that Garcillano had indeed gone abroad, and was in Singapore.
Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez earlier said it is possible that certain immigration agents helped the former poll official.
Garcillano has become a controversial figure with the surfacing of the "Hello Garci" tapes which contained an allegedly recorded conversation between President Arroyo and himself on the rigging of the result of the 2004 Presidential elections. …