Seafarers’ Exam Scandal: The alleged cheaters


“If you don’t cheat, life cheats you anyway,” quips Lyn to schoolmate Bank in the hit Thai movie, The Bad Genius. Bank was hesitant at first to cheat but few hours after the golden offer, he had changed his mind and joined Lyn’s team. Unfortunately, he got caught leaking the int’l. exam, and was shamefully deported in Australia.

In our local maritime industry, some influential people were reported to authorities for leakage of exam answers too.

Reportedly, they conspired with some big review centers to likely earn a living.

In May 2003, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had reported to Presidential Anti-Graft Commision (PAGC) the “rare high scores” obtained by the examinees in the PRC-administered marine deck officer’s licensure exam at time.

And on what observers consider ‘first-time’, in the history of PRC, 14 seafarers garnered 100% scores, 41 got 99, while 74 others got 98!

Thanks to these people?

1. Rodolfo Aspillaga
2. Renato Sanggalang
3. Edric Aspilla
4. Dennis Santiago, and
5. Wilfredo Marco

Here’s what happened, as reported by The Philippine Star. Below news was published May 6, 2003.

Lawyer Arlis Vela, chief of the NBI’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Division, said five days before the June 30 exams, a tip was allegedly released by PRC examiner Rodolfo Aspillaga through chief mate Renato Sanggalang, who in turn, relayed this to chief mate Edric Aspilla, reviewer of Golden Success Maritime Inc. in Cebu City.

Captain Edwin Itable, the whistleblower, disclosed that “four sets of leaks” were forwarded by Aspilla to Captain Dennis Santiago, owner of SBR Review Center who also allegedly shared the tip with Captain Wilfredo Marco of the Marco Review Center.

Aside from Aspillaga and giant review center execs Sanggalang, Aspilla, Santiago and Marco, the Professional Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) ex-Commissioner Alfonso Abad, PRC Assistant Commissioner Aristogerson Gesmundo with Board of marine deck licensure examination Capt. Ernesto Bondoc, Jesse Martinez, Aurelio Picardal and Jose Modelo, were also reportedly charged at PAGC.

Fast forward today, 5 Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) IT employees were put behind bars by the Manila Police District. With a colleague, they were about to leak the confidential licensure examination for seafarers crafted by the agency to a review center of someone named Jobert Santos.

GMA News reports early morning today that the group of Christian Asistores, Julius Maquera, Malone Morales, John Daniel Ricafort, Teodorico Dionisio and Joemarie Antiquera tried to asked PHP 500,000 from Santos in exchange of the leaked review materials.

Lyn was probably right, life cheats you anyway. But to deliberately cheat and earn money out of it is a different story. More often than not, a bad genius suffers from burnt fingers.

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Images screen grabbed from Facebook accounts of SBR and Golden Success.


What are your thoughts about these people who were suspected of cheating?

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