Labor Cases Digested) | Recruitment | Fraud

G.R. Nos.

124443-46

June 6, 2002

Singapore and Malaysia. On that same day, private complainants happened to be at the Jamila office. Appellant also claimed that private complainants later transacted business with Mah without the knowledge of Jamila. According to her, Lani Platon told her that private complainants were supposed to leave on June 6, 1993. Also for the defense, witness AMADO PANCHA testified that he came to know appellant when he was applying for a job abroad through Jamila. He claimed that he was at the Jamila office on May 30, 1993 and saw some people, presumably private complainants, inside appellant’s office.27 He met Lani Platon and asked her what she was doing at Jamila. Platon allegedly replied that she was recruiting female workers for jobs abroad. She introduced Pancha to her Singaporean companion, Steven Mah.28 Thereafter, according to Pancha, private complainants gave Platon an envelope containing money that Platon put inside her bag. Private complainants then handed Platon a piece of bond paper with something typewritten on it, which the latter signed.29 Appellant signed on the same piece of paper. The trial court found appellant guilty. Hence, the appellant elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. ISSUE: Whether or not Nimfa Remullo is guilty of the crime charged against her. RULING: Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code provides: ART. 13. Definitions. -- xxx

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. NIMFA REMULLO FACTS: Private complainants JENELYN QUINSAAT, ROSARIO CADACIO, and HONORINA MEJIA averred that they went to appellant’s house sometime in March 1993, where appellant told them she was recruiting factory workers for Malaysia. Appellant told them to fill up application forms and to go to the office of Jamila and Co., the recruitment agency where appellant worked. Appellant also required each applicant to submit a passport, pictures, and clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and then to undergo a medical examination. Appellant told them the placement fee was P15,000 for each applicant, which private complainants gave her. Appellant did not issue receipts for any of the payments. At the Jamila office, private complainants met a certain Steven Mah, the alleged broker from the company in Malaysia that was interested in hiring the women. Mah told them they were fit to work. Private complainants were supposed to leave for Malaysia on June 6, 1993. On May 28, 1993, private complainant Quinsaat testified that she and the others met with appellant at the Philippine General Hospital where appellant showed them their plane tickets. Appellant also told them to fill up departure cards by checking the word "holiday" thereon. At the airport on June 6, 1993, an immigration officer told private complainants they lacked a requirement imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Their passports were cancelled and their boarding passes marked "offloaded". Private complainant Mejia testified that appellant told them they were not able to leave because their visas were for tourists only. Appellant told private complainants they would be able to leave on June 20, 1993 but this, too, did not push through. Private complainant Mejia inquired from Jamila and Co. regarding their application papers. In response, Evelyn Landrito, vice president and general manager to Jamila, denied any knowledge of such papers. Landrito told Mejia that appellant did not submit any document to Jamila. She further certified that appellant was not authorized to receive payments on behalf of Jamila. EVELYN LANDRITO testified that appellant was a marketing consultant for Jamila. As such, her work was limited to securing job orders for the company through contacts abroad. According to Landrito, appellant went on absence without leave in late 1993. Landrito did not know the private complainants. She stated that Jamila did not have job orders accredited by the POEA for Malaysia. She knew of a Steven Mah who represented Manifield Enterprise but the agreement with that company did not push through and POEA did not accredit Manifield. In her defense, appellant NIMFA REMULLO denied having recruited private complainants and receiving any money from them. According to her testimony, she met private complainant at the Jamila office where she was a marketing consultant. They asked for her help in obtaining jobs abroad, so she had them fill up bio-data forms and told them to wait for job openings. She alleged that Jamila had an agreement with Wearness Electronics, based in Malaysia, concerning the recruitment of workers for Wearness. Private complainants were supposed to have been recruited for Wearness. Appellant explained that Steven Mah was the owner of Manifield Enterprise a recruitment agency. Appellant said that Mah "went to Malaysia to look for job opening and he was able to find this company, Wearness Electronics.Appellant insisted that private complainants did not hand their placement fees to her but to Steven Mah and to a certain Lani Platon.19 She presented in evidence photocopies of receipts allegedly signed by Platon.20 She said private complainants sought her assistance after they were unable to leave for abroad. She pointed out that she helped private complainants fax a letter to Steven Mah in Singapore asking for the return of their money.21 She also accompanied them to Batangas where Lani Platon was supposed to be residing.22 On cross-examination, appellant insisted that her job at Jamila was not limited to finding prospective employers abroad. She said that her duties included those assigned by Virginia Castro, Jamila’s deputy manager, among them entertaining job applicants. She said that it was actually Castro who told Mah to interview private complainants at the Jamila office. Mah went to Jamila sometime on May 24, 1993 to deliver documents regarding job openings in

(b) "Recruitment and placement" refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contact services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. We are convinced that private complainants, the main witnesses for the prosecution, were enticed by appellant to apply for jobs abroad. The three private complainants filled up application forms at appellant’s house, and each paid appellant the amount of P15,000 as placement fee. However, she acted without license or lawful authority to conduct recruitment of workers for overseas placement. The POEA’s licensing branch issued a certification stating that appellant, in her personal capacity, was not authorized to engage in recruitment activities. Evelyn Landrito, general manager of the placement agency where appellant used to work, denied that the scope of appellant’s work included recruiting workers and receiving placement fees. Such lack of authority to recruit is also apparent from a reading of the job description of a marketing consultant, the post that appellant occupied at Jamila and Co. Anent appellant’s conviction for estafa in Criminal Cases Nos. 95654 to 95-656, we find no error committed by the trial court. Their conviction and sentence are fully supported by the evidence on record. For charges of estafa to prosper, the following elements must be present: (1) that the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (2) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person.39 In this case, appellant clearly defrauded private complainants by deceiving them into believing that she had the power and authority to send them on jobs abroad. By virtue of appellant’s false representations, private complainants each parted with their hard-earned money. Each complainant paid P15,000 as recruitment fee to appellant, who then appropriated the money for her own use and benefit, but failed utterly to provide overseas job placements to the complainants. In a classic rigmarole, complainants were provided defective visas, brought to the airport with their passports and tickets, only to be offloaded that day, but with promises to be booked in a plane flight on another day. The recruits wait in vain for weeks, months, even years, only to realize they were gypped, as no jobs await them abroad. No clearer cases

of estafa could be imagined than those for which appellant should be held criminally responsible. WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Branch 132, is hereby AFFIRMED G.R. No. 132376 April 11, 2002

Accused-appellant alleged that she never promised nor offered any job to the complainants.She pointed out that not one of the complainants testified on what kind of jobs were promised to them, how much they would receive as salaries, the length of their employment and even the names of their employers, which are basic subjects a prospective employee would first determine. ISSUE: Whether or not Angeles is guilty with four (4) counts of estafa and one (1) count of illegal recruitment RULING: 1.) Illegal recruitment is committed when two (2) elements concur: 1) that the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable one to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; and 2) that the offender undertakes either any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined under Article 13(b), or any prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34.3 Article 13(b), of the Labor Code provides, thus: (b) "Recruitment and placement" refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, that any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. To prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accusedappellant gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed.4 To be engaged in the practice of recruitment and placement, it is plain that there must at least be a promise or offer of an employment from the person posing as a recruiter whether locally or abroad. Plainly, there is no testimony that accused-appellant offered complainants jobs abroad. Hence, accused-appellant Samina Angeles cannot be lawfully convicted of illegal recruitment. 2.) Under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of estafa are: (1) the accused has defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit and (2) damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. Clearly, these elements are present in this case.8 Although Samina Angeles did not deceive complainants into believing that she could find employment for them abroad, nonetheless, she made them believe that she was processing their travel documents for France and Canada. They parted with their money believing that Samina Angeles would use it to pay for their plane tickets, hotel accommodations and other travel requirements. Upon receiving various amounts from complainants, Samina Angeles used it for other purposes and then conveniently disappeared. Complainants trusted Samina Angeles because she was referred to them by their own relatives. She abused their confidence when she led them to believe that she can process their travel documents abroad, thus inducing them to part with their money. When they demanded from Samina their travel documents, she failed to produce them. Likewise, she failed to return the amounts entrusted to her. Clearly, Samina Angeles defrauded complainants by falsely pretending to possess the power and capacity to process their travel documents. P107,000.00 – Maria; 190,00 – Marceliano; 61,200- Precila. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed Decision is MODIFIED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. SAMINA ANGELES Y CALMA FACTS: Maria Tolosa Sardeña was working in Saudi Arabia when she received a call from her sister, Priscilla Agoncillo, who was in Paris, France. Priscilla advised Maria to return to the Philippines and await the arrival of her friend, accused-appellant Samina Angeles, who will assist in processing her travel and employment documents to Paris, France. Heeding her sister’s advice, Maria immediately returned to the Philippines. Marceliano Tolosa who at that time was in the Philippines likewise received instructions from his sister Priscilla to meet accused-appellant who will also assist in the processing of his documents for Paris, France. Maria and Marceliano eventually met accused-appellant. During their meeting, accused-appellant asked if they had the money required for the processing of their documents. Maria gave P107,000.00 to accused-appellant at Expert Travel Agency. Subsequently, she gave another P46,000.00 and US$1,500.00 as additional payments to accused-appellant. Marceliano, on the other hand, initially gave P100,000.00 to accused-appellant and he gave an additional P46,000.00 and US$1,500.00 at the United Coconut Planters Bank in Makati. Analyn Olpindo met accused-appellant in Belgium. At that time, Analyn was working in Canada but she went to Belgium to visit her in-laws. After meeting accused-appellant, Analyn Olpindo called up her sister, Precila Olpindo, in the Philippines and told her to meet accused-appellant upon the latter’s arrival in the Philippines because accused-appellant can help process her documents for employment in Canada. Precila Olpindo eventually met accused-appellant at the Expert Travel Agency. Accusedappellant asked for the amount of $4,500.00, but Precila was only able to give $2,500.00. No evidence was adduced in relation to the complaint of Vilma Brina since she did not testify in court. Accused-appellant told Precila Olpindo and Vilma Brina that it was easier to complete the processing of their papers if they start from Jakarta, Indonesia rather than from Manila. Precila Olpindo, Vilma Brina and accused-appellant flew to Jakarta, Indonesia. However, accused-appellant returned to the Philippines after two days, leaving behind Precila and Vilma. They waited for accusedappellant in Jakarta but the latter never returned. Precila and Vilma eventually came home to the Philippines. They started looking for her but they could not reach her. Elisa Campanianos of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency presented a certification to the effect that accusedappellant was not duly licensed to recruit workers here and abroad. In her defense, accused-appellant averred that she never represented to the complainants that she can provide them with work abroad. She insisted that she was a marketing consultant and an international trade fair organizer. She met Priscilla Agoncillo in France and they became friends. Priscilla asked her to assist her siblings, Maria and Marceliano, particularly in the processing of their travel documents for France. Accused-appellant told Priscilla that she can only help in the processing of travel documents and nothing more. It was Priscilla who promised employment to Maria and Marceliano. She received money from complainants not in the form of placement fees but for the cost of tickets, hotel accommodations and other travel requirements. She has the same defense for Analyn Olpindo whom she met in Belgium. After trial on the merits, the trial court found accused-appellant guilty of illegal recruitment and four (4) counts of estafa. The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals.

G.R. No. 93666 April 22, 1991 GENERAL MILLING CORPORATION and EARL TIMOTHY CONE vs. HON. RUBEN D. TORRES FACTS: The National Capital Region of the Department of Labor and Employment issued Alien Employment Permit in favor of petitioner Earl Timothy Cone, a United States citizen, as sports consultant and assistant coach for petitioner General Milling Corporation ("GMC"). Petitioners GMC and Cone entered into a contract of employment whereby the latter undertook to coach GMC's basketball team.The Board of Special Inquiry of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation approved petitioner Cone's application for a change of admission status from temporary visitor to pre-arranged employee. Petitioner GMC requested renewal of petitioner Cone's alien employment permit. GMC also requested that it be allowed to employ Cone as full-fledged coach. The DOLE Regional Director granted the request. Alien Employment Permit valid until 25 December 1990, was issued. Private respondent Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines ("BCAP") appealed the issuance of said alien employment permit to the respondent Secretary of Labor who issued a decision ordering cancellation of petitioner Cone's employment permit on the ground that there was no showing that there is no person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing to perform the services required nor that the hiring of petitioner Cone would redound to the national interest. Petitioner GMC filed a Motion for Reconsideration and two (2) Supplemental Motions for Reconsideration but said Motions were denied by Acting Secretary of Labor. Petitioners elevated the case before the Court on a Petition for Certiorari. Petitioner GMC's claim that hiring of a foreign coach is an employer's prerogative has no legal basis at all. Under Article 40 of the Labor Code, an employer seeking employment of an alien must first obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor. Petitioner GMC's right to choose whom to employ is, of course, limited by the statutory requirement of an alien employment permit. ISSUE: Whether or not Section 6 (c), Rule XIV, Book I of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code is null and void as it is in violation of the enabling law as the Labor Code does not empower respondent Secretary to determine if the employment of an alien would redound to national interest. RULING: Section 6 (c), Rule XIV, Book I of the Implementing Rules, provides as follows: Section 6. Issuance of Employment Permit –– the Secretary of Labor may issue an employment permit to the applicant based on: a) Compliance by the applicant and his employer with the requirements of Section 2 hereof; b) Report of the Bureau Director as to the availability or nonavailability of any person in the Philippines who is competent and willing to do the job for which the services of the applicant are desired. (c) His assessment as to whether or not the employment of the applicant will redound to the national interest; (d) Admissibility of the alien as certified by the Commission on Immigration and Deportation; (e) The recommendation of the Board of Investments or other appropriate government agencies if the applicant will be employed

in preferred areas of investments or in accordance with the imperative of economic development; Article 40 of the Labor Code reads as follows: Art. 40. Employment per unit of non-resident aliens. –– Any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage an alien for employment in the Philippines shall obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor. The employment permit may be issued to a non-resident alien or to the applicant employer after a determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired. For an enterprise registered in preferred areas of investments, said employment permit may be issued upon recommendation of the government agency charged with the supervision of said registered enterprise. (Emphasis supplied) Petitioners apparently suggest that the Secretary of Labor is not authorized to take into account the question of whether or not employment of an alien applicant would "redound to the national interest" because Article 40 does not explicitly refer to such assessment. This argument (which seems impliedly to concede that the relationship of basketball coaching and the national interest is tenuous and unreal) is not persuasive. In the first place, the second paragraph of Article 40 says: "[t]he employment permit may be issued to a non-resident alien or to the applicant employer after a determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired." The permissive language employed in the Labor Code indicates that the authority granted involves the exercise of discretion on the part of the issuing authority. In the second place, Article 12 of the Labor Code sets forth a statement of objectives that the Secretary of Labor should, and indeed must, take into account in exercising his authority and jurisdiction granted by the Labor Code, Art. 12. Statement of Objectives. –– It is the policy of the State: a) To promote and maintain a state of full employment through improved manpower training, allocation and utilization; xxx xxx xxx c) To facilitate a free choice of available employment by persons seeking work in conformity with the national interest; d) To facilitate and regulate the movement of workers in conformity with the national interest; e) To regulate the employment of aliens, including the establishment of a registration and/or work permit system; Thus, we find petitioners' arguments on the above points of constitutional law too insubstantial to require further consideration. Petitioners have very recently manifested to this Court that public respondent Secretary of Labor has reversed his earlier decision and has issued an Employment Permit to petitioner Cone. Petitioners seek to withdraw their Petition for Certiorari on the ground that it has become moot and academic. ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DISMISS the Petition for certiorari for lack of merit.

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