You are on page 1of 2

1. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MELISSA CHUA G.R. No.

184058 March 10, 2010


Doctrines:
A person convicted of illegal recruitment may, in addition, be convicted of Estafa as penalized
under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, held that the elements thereof were
sufficiently established, viz:
(a) that appellant deceived the complainants by assuring them of employment in Taiwan provided
they pay the required placement fee;
(b) that relying on such representation, the complainants paid appellant the amount demanded;
(c) thatherrepresentationturnedouttobefalsebecauseshefailedtodeploythemaspromised;and (d)
that the complainants suffered damages when they failed to be reimbursed the amounts they
paid.
ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT v. ESTAFA
Illegal recruitment is malum prohibitum, while estafa is malum in se. In the first, the criminal intent
of the accused is not necessary for conviction. In the second, such an intent is imperative. Estafa
under Article 315, paragraph 2, of the Revised Penal Code, is committed by any person who
defrauds another by using fictitious name, or falsely pretends to possess power, influence,
qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of similar
deceits executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud.
FACTS:
Sometime in 2002, accused Josie Campos (at large) and accused-appellant Chua promised to
the complainants deployment to Taiwan as factory workers. In connection with their deployment,
accused-appellant Chua, who was then a temporary cashier at Golden Gate (Recruitment
Agency), collected from the complainants the following amount as part of their placement fees:
ERIK DE GUIA TAN - P73,000.00 MARILYN D. MACARANAS - 83,000.00 NAPOLEON H. YU,
JR. - 23,000.00 HARRY JAMES P. KING - 23,000.00 ROBERTO C. ANGELES - 23,000.00
Without valid reasons and without fault on the part of the said complainants, accused-appellant
Chua failed to actually deploy them and failed to reimburse expenses incurred in connection with
their documentation and processing for purposes of their deployment.
As her defense, appellant Chua maintains that Golden Gate was a licensed recruitment agency
and that Josie, who is her godmother, was an agent. Admitting having received P80,000 each
from Marilyn and Tan, receipt of which she issued but denying receiving any amount from King,
she claimed that she turned over the money to the documentation officer, one Arlene Vega, who
in turn remitted the money to Marilyn Calueng whose present whereabouts she did not know.
RTC RULING: Found CHUA GUILTY as principal of a large scale illegal recruitment and estafa
three (3) counts. She is sentenced to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Five Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) for illegal recruitment. As regards Criminal Cases Nos. 04-
222597 and 04-222599, both are dismissed for lack of interest of complainants Roberto Angeles
and Napoleon Yu, Jr.
CA RULING: AFFIRMED RTC
ISSUE: WON CHUA is guilty of Illegal Recruitment in a Large Scale and Estafa.
SC RULING:
YES. The recruitment activities were done at the time Golden Gates license had already expired.
Further, the illegal recruitment was made in a large scale because the following essential
elements are present, to wit: (1) the accused undertook a recruitment activity under Article 13(b)
or any prohibited practice under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the accused did not have the
license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers; and (3)
the accused committed such illegal activity against three or more persons individually or as a
group.
Even if CHUA were a mere temporary cashier of Golden Gate, that did not make her any less an
employee to be held liable for illegal recruitment as principal by direct participation, together with
the employer, as it was shown that she actively and consciously participated in the recruitment
process.
Assuming arguendo that CHUA was unaware of the illegal nature of the recruitment business of
Golden Gate, that does not free her of liability either. Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale penalized
under Republic Act No. 8042, or "The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," is a
special law, a violation of which is malum prohibitum, not malum in se. Intent is thus immaterial.
And that explains why CHUA was, aside from Estafa, convicted of such offense.