NBI probes leak of marine officer licensure exam
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started its probe into the sale of marine desk officer licensure examination and alleged corruption in the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Former Marina administrator Marcial Amaro III and three board examiners were summoned by the NBI to shed light on the issue, a source told The STAR yesterday.

The invitation stemmed from the arrest of five Marina employees and a training center officer during an entrapment operation on Jan. 10 after they allegedly tried to sell the leaked examination to a review center.

The source said the inquiry would focus on the system that carried the database from where the examination was derived.

“The NBI wants to know the company that provided the system, the integrity of the source code and the people behind it,” the source said.

Amaro neither confirmed nor denied that he was summoned by the NBI. But he said he is willing to tell everything he knows “at the proper forum.”

Amaro has been sacked by President Duterte supposedly due to numerous trips abroad.

A Marina official,  who earlier urged Congress to investigate the alleged corruption in the agency, said the NBI should also invite Glass Box, the company that developed the system, and the officers of the Associated Marine Officers and Seaman’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP).

The official, who requested anonymity, said the system was procured during the time of former Marina administrator Maximo Mejia in coordination with AMOSUP.

The International Maritime Training Trust, a European-based organization, funded the system, the official said.

“There are people in the agency who are in cahoots with the developer because they have access to the source code and are able to manipulate the examination,” the official added. 

He said Glass Box has agreed to maintain the system. But the deal did not pass through the usual procurement process and Marina was not able to pay its standing account with the company.

Because of this, Glass Box did not turn over the source code to Marina, according to the official.

The source said this could be the source of corruption in Marina since an outsider still has access to the database.

“The discovery of an attempt to sell the leaked exam was just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of money-making schemes in the agency and a lot of people, from the officials down to the security guards, are involved in corruption. It is about time for Congress to investigate these irregularities because the shipping industry will suffer,” the official said. 

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