NBI nabs Fil-Am in Ponce mishap

- Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe -
The Filipino-American involved in a vehicular accident that killed Presidential Assistant for Resettlement Nestor Ponce Jr. last Aug. 8 was arrested in Zamboanga the other day while about to leave on a ship bound for Malaysia.

Twenty-two-year-old Jason Aguilar Ivler, an American citizen, was resting in cabin of the Sandakan-bound M/V Lady Mary Joy II docked at a port in Zamboanga when arrested by elements of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Bureau of Immigration (BI).

NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco and Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. presented Ivler to mediamen yesterday morning at the NBI main office in Manila.

Wycoco said the NBI, through its legal division, would be filing an ex-parte motion to oppose the issuance of bail to Ivler, whom he described as a flight risk.

But the NBI apparently failed to file the motion in time as Pasig City Judge Rowena Modesto San Pedro later ordered Ivler released from NBI custody after his lawyer posted P30,000 bail.

Ivler faces charges of homicide through reckless imprudence for the death of Ponce and injuries to his wife last Aug. 8 on the C-5 flyover in Ortigas, Pasig City.

Ponce, a former Representative of the second district of Manila, was killed when Ivler’s Toyota Prado bearing diplomatic plate 23370 crashed into his Isuzu Trooper at 5:30 a.m.

Ponce, who was driving the vehicle, was dead on arrival at the Medical City Hospital. His wife, Evangeline, suffered a hip injury. Ivler was also injured.

Police said Ponce was driving toward Makati City when Ivler’s vehicle, which was on the opposite lane, crossed the center island and hit the left portion of the victim’s Trooper.

Escorted escape?

On board the vessel in Zamboanga, Ivler was being escorted by Superintendent Antonio Gumiran Jr. of the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Operations based in Camp Crame, Senior Inspector Jeff Briones Uy and an unidentified Tausug-speaking policeman, according to the Bureau Immigration.

Capt. Joseph Tobias of the BI-Marine Detail said that prior to Ivler’s arrest, immigration officers were conducting an inspection of all ship passengers at around 1:30 p.m. of July 16.

Tobias said Gumiran requested the inspecting team not to disturb the foreigner who was resting in his cabin.

"Instead, he (Gumiran) was advised to surrender their passports for stamping since they will be denied entry to Sandakan, Malaysia if their passports do not have a departure stamp from Philippine immigration," Tobias said in his report. Gumiran made another request, this time asking the immigration officers not to include Ivler’s name in the list of foreigners on the ship.

By this time, Tobias sensed the police officer was hiding something so he coordinated with the Alien Control Office, which contacted Manila.

The Manila office then relayed information about Ivler, who has a warrant of arrest for the accident that killed Ponce.

Tobias said that when Immigration officer Jakaria Madlahuddin asked the cops to surrender Ivler, Gumiran allegedly offered him $5,000 (roughly P270,000) to allow Ivler to leave.

"Aayusin na lang natin ito kasi ang bata papatayin ng kalaban... tapos magbibigay ako ng
$5,000," Tobias quoted Gumiran as saying.

But the immigration officer refused the offer and turned over Ivler to the NBI. Ivler was immediately taken to Manila.

Wycoco said the NBI will be filing appropriate charges against the police escorts. "We will be coordinating with the PNP for possible administrative charges," the NBI chief said. "Policemen can’t leave the country without clearance and permission from the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and the PNP."

Meanwhile, Ivler’s lawyer Joseph Sagandoy said they want the case re-investigated to prove their claim that there was a third vehicle invol ved in the C-5 accident.

"We will have the case re-investigated since there were reports that it was a truck that hit Ponce’s car," he said.

Ivler’s mother Marlene, who was at the NBI office hours before the presentation, said she fears for her son’s life.

"My son’s life is under threat, which was sent through e-mail to my husband," she said. Marlene, who is now married to an Asian Development Bank executive, is the sister of singer Freddie Aguilar

The mother said Ivler’s real father died in a car accident when her son was only three years old.











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