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EQUI-ASIA PLACEMENT, INC.

, Petitioner, versus POLO is awaiting signed statements from the “In connection with your telegram, dated 09/22/2000,
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (DFA) aforementioned workers who promised to send it by fax this requiring us to report the circumstances surrounding the
represented by the HON. DOMINGO L. SIAZON, afternoon. death of OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON in Korea and
requesting us to issue a PTA, etc., for the repatriation of the
JR., SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND
We are also coordinating with the deceased’s remains of said OFW, this is to report to your good office the
EMPLOYMENT (DOLE), represented by HON. employer for documentation requirements and financial following:
BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, Respondents. 2006 assistance for the repatriation of the remains.
Sep 19 1st Division G.R. No. 152214 1. The deceased was deployed by our agency on April
We will highly appreciate if Home Office could advise 3, 2000 to Yeongjin Machine Company in South Korea;
DECISION the next-of-kins of the urgent need to issue a Special Power
of Attorney (SPA) to facilitate the repatriation requirements 2. He violated his employment/training/dispatching
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: of the subject. contracts on June 25, 2000 by unlawfully escaping/running
away (TNT) from his company assignment without prior
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the In anticipation of the next-of-kins’ likely move to seek KFSMB authorization and working/staying in unknown
Decision dated 4 October 2001[1] and Resolution dated 18 financial assistance from OWWA for the repatriation of their company/place;
February 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. loved [one], please be advised in advance that we will need
61904. The Decision denied petitioner’s petition for certiorari about US$4,000.00 to repatriate the cadaver (to include 3. He allegedly died of ‘bangungot’ thereafter;
while the Resolution denied its Motion for Reconsideration. hospital and morgue costs) to Manila. xxx”
In view thereof, we cannot heed your requests as embodied
The Court of Appeals summarized the facts of this In turn, the OWWA, through Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, indorsed in your telegram. However, his relatives can avail of the
case in this wise: the matter, for appropriate action, to Director R. Casco of the benefits provided for by OWWA in cases involving
Welfare Employment Office of the Philippine Overseas undocumented/illegal Filipino workers abroad.
On September 16, 2000, Manny dela Rosa Razon, a Employment Administration (WEO-POEA).
native of Lemery, Batangas and an overseas Filipino worker, Trusting for your kind understanding”
died of acute cardiac arrest while asleep at the dormitory of Upon verification by the WEO-POEA on its data base, it was
the Samsong Textile Processing Factory in South Korea. discovered that Manny Razon was recruited and deployed On the same date – September 26, 2000 – Director Ricardo
Informed thereof, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office by petitioner Equi-Asia Placement, Inc., and was sent to R. Casco of the WEO-POEA sent to the petitioner the herein
(POLO) at South Korea immediately relayed the incident to South Korea on April 3, 2000 to work-train at Yeongjin second assailed letter-directive, which pertinently reads:
the Philippine Embassy in South Korea. Forthwith, the Machinery, Inc. Thereupon, POEA addressed the herein
[Labor] Attaché of the Philippine Embassy dispatched a first assailed telegram-directive dated September 22, 2000 “We have received a copy of your fax message dated 26
letter to Eleuterio N. Gardiner, administrator of the Overseas to the President/General Manager of the petitioner. We September 2000 as regards to your response to our request
Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The letter reads: quote the telegram: for PTA for aforesaid deceased OFW. Nevertheless, may
we remind you that pursuant to Sections 52, 53, 54 and 55
“VERY URGENT, POLO has recently received a report that “PLEASE PROVIDE PTA [Prepaid Ticket Advice] FOR THE of the Implementing Rules Governing RA 8042, otherwise
OFW Manny dela Rosa RAZON, an undocumented worker, REPATRIATION OF REMAINS AND BELONGINGS OF known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of
died last Saturday, 16 September, from an apparent OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON AS PER REQUEST OF 1995, the repatriation of OFW, his/her remains and transport
pancreatic attack or ‘bangungot.’ PHILIPPINE EMBASSY, KOREA, YOU CAN COORDINATE of his personal effects is the primary responsibility of the
WITH YOUR FOREIGN EMPLOYER AND TO WAD/OWWA principal or agency and to immediately advance the cost of
According to the verbal reports of Moises and Ronald (MLA) AS REGARDS TO THIS MATTER. YOU ARE GIVEN plane fare without prior determination of the cause of
Recarde, Manny’s co-workers, he was found already lifeless TWO (2) DAYS FROM RECEIPT HEREOF WITHIN WHICH worker’s repatriation. The Rules further provide for the
inside their quarters at around 11:00 in the morning of the TO PROVIDE SAID TICKET AND ASSISTANCE, KINDLY procedure to be followed in cases when the foreign
above date. They rushed him to Uri Hospital where the SUBMIT YOUR REPORT TO ASSISTANCE AND employer/agency fails to provide for the cost of the
Doctor declared him dead on arrival. WELFARE DIVISION (AWD), 2/F POEA, FAILURE TO DO repatriation, compliance of which is punishable by
SO WILL CONSTRAIN US TO IMPOSE APPROPRIATE suspension of the license of the agency or such sanction as
Per information gathered, the deceased is single, 29 SANCTION UNDER OUR RULES” the Administration shall deem proper. Hence, you are
years old, from Bukal, Lemery, Batangas. His next-of-kins required to provide the PTA for the deceased OFW in
are Mrs. Rowena Razon (Auntie) and Mr. Razon (Uncle) with Responding thereto, petitioner, thru its President compliance with the requirement in accordance with R.A.
telephone number (043)411-2308. Daniel Morga, Jr., faxed on September 26, 2000 the 8042. You are given forty-eight (48) hours upon receipt
following message to the Assistance and Welfare Division of hereof within which to provide said ticket. Failure in this
the POEA: regard will constrain us to impose the appropriate sanction
under our rules.”
On September 27, 2000, petitioner wrote back Director “WHETHER OR NOT SECTIONS 52, 53, 54 AND 55 OF subject to the rules and procedures of the NLRC.” There is,
Ricardo R. Casco, thus: THE OMNIBUS RULES AND REGULATIONS therefore, an adequate remedy available to petitioner.
IMPLEMENTING THE MIGRANT WORKERS AND
“In connection with your fax letter dated September 26, OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995 (R.A. 8042), ISSUED Lastly, the Court of Appeals declared that it could not
2000, re: the repatriation of the remains of the deceased, ex- BY DFA AND POEA, WHICH POEA SUMMARILY strike down as unconstitutional Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55
trainee (OFW) MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON, please be ORDERED THE HEREIN PETITIONER TO COMPLY VIZ-A- of the Omnibus Rules as the unconstitutionality of a statute
informed that the provisions of Section 53 as well as, and in VIZ THE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE OF THE EXPENSES or rules may not be passed upon unless the issue is directly
relation to, Section 55 of the Omnibus Rules and FOR THE REPATRIATION OF THE REMAINS OF A raised in an appropriate proceeding.[6]
Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and DECEASED WORKER-TRAINEE WHO, AT THE TIME OF
Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 on the matters covering the HIS DEATH, HAS NO EXISTING EMPLOYMENT In the present recourse, petitioner submits the
following: (DISPATCHING) CONTRACT WITH EITHER SAID following issues for our consideration:
PETITIONER OR HIS FOREIGN PRINCIPAL AND NO
1. The responsibility of the agency to advance the cost of VALID VISA OR IS NOT WORKING WITH THE FOREIGN 1. The Court of Appeals erred in the appreciation of the
plane fare without prior determination of the cause of the PRINCIPAL TO WHICH PETITIONER DEPLOYED HIM, IS issue as it mistakenly considered, in dismissing the petition
deceased worker’s termination. ILLEGAL AND/OR VIOLATIVE OF DUE PROCESS SUCH before it, that petitioner is contesting the compliance and
THAT POEA ACTED WITHOUT [OR IN] EXCESS OF ITS conformity of the POEA directives with Sections 52, 53, 54,
2. The recovery of the same costs from the estate of the JURISDICTION AND/OR IN GRAVE ABUSE OF and 55 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations implementing
dead worker before the NLRC. DISCRETION IN ISSUING SAID ORDER TO PAY SAID in particular Section 15 of RA 8042;
EXPENSES.”[2]
3. The action to be imposed by POEA for non- 2. The Court of Appeals, in dismissing the petition,
compliance therewith within 48 hours are violative of due On 4 October 2001, the Court of Appeals rendered again erred in ruling that constitutional questions cannot be
process and/or the principle on due delegation of power. the Decision which is now the subject of the present petition. passed upon and adjudged in a special civil action for
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ Decision certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
This is so because Sec. 15 of R.A. 8042 clearly states: Procedure;
contemplates prior notice and hearing before responsibility
thereunder could be established against the agency that sets WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the instant petition is 3. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that, under
up the defense of sole fault – in avoidance of said DENIED and is accordingly DISMISSED.[3] the facts of the case that gave rise to the petition before it,
responsibility -. Besides, the sections in question unduly the same sections of the said rules and regulations are
grant the powers to require advance payment of the plane In dismissing the petition for certiorari, the Court of illegal, invalid and/or violative of the right of petitioner to due
fare, to impose the corresponding penalty of suspension in Appeals stated that petitioner was mainly accusing the process of law and, therefore, the POEA directives issued
case of non-compliance therewith, within 48 hours and to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) of pursuant thereto constitute acts committed without, or in
recover said advance payment from the dead worker’s grave abuse of discretion when it ordered petitioner to pay, excess of, jurisdiction and/or in grave abuse of discretion.[7]
estate upon the return of his remains to the country before in advance, the costs for the repatriation of the remains of
the NLRC, when the law itself does not expressly provide for the deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon. In Our Resolution of 20 November 2002, we gave due
the grant of such powers. course to the present petition and directed the parties to
The Court of Appeals ruled that the POEA did not submit their respective memoranda.[8] On 28 August 2006,
xxx xxx x x x. commit any grave abuse of discretion as its directives to we resolved to dispense with the memorandum of the
petitioner were issued pursuant to existing laws and estate/heirs of deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon.
Please provide us immediately with the death regulations.[4] It likewise held that a petition for certiorari,
certificate/post mortem report/police report pertinent to which was the remedy availed of by petitioner, is not the At the center of this petition are the following
above as proof of death and cause thereof.” proper remedy as the same is only available when “there is provisions of the omnibus rules:
no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
Nonetheless, and apprehensive of the adverse ordinary course of law.”[5] Section 62 of the Omnibus Rules Section 52. Primary Responsibility for Repatriation.
repercussions which may ensue on account of its non- and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and – The repatriation of the worker, or his/her remains, and the
compliance with the directive, petitioner, on September 29, Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 or Republic Act 8042 transport of his/her personal effects shall be the primary
2000, advanced under protest the costs for the repatriation (“Omnibus Rules”) states that “the Labor Arbiters of NLRC responsibility of the principal or agency which recruited or
of the remains of the late Manny dela Rosa Razon. shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and deployed him/her abroad. All costs attendant thereto shall
decide all claims arising out of employer-employee be borne by the principal or the agency concerned.
Thereafter, petitioner went to this Court via the instant relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving
petition for certiorari, posing, for Our consideration, the sole Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for Section 53. Repatriation of Workers. – The primary
issue of – actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages, responsibility to repatriate entails the obligation on the part of
principal or agency to advance the cost of plane fare and to responsible for the repatriation of the former and/or his Finally, petitioner points out that it should be the Overseas
immediately repatriate the worker should the need for it belongings. Workers Welfare Administration which should advance the
arise, without a prior determination of the cause of the costs of repatriation of the deceased Razon with the
termination of the worker’s employment. However, after the Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals resources coming out of the emergency repatriation fund of
worker has returned to the country, the principal or agency misappreciated the issue it presented in its petition for said agency.
may recover the cost of repatriation from the worker if the certiorari when, instead of resolving whether Sections 52,
termination of employment was due solely to his/her fault. 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are illegal and violative The Solicitor General for its part counters that Sections 52,
of due process, it merely confined itself to the question of 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are valid quasi-
Every contract for overseas employment shall whether or not the POEA committed grave abuse of legislative acts of respondents Department of Foreign Affairs
provide for the primary responsibility of agency to advance discretion in issuing its directives of 22 September 2000 and and Department of Labor and Employment.[10] Because of
the cost of plane fare, and the obligation of the worker to 27 September 2000. this, the requirements of prior notice and hearing are not
refund the cost thereof in case his/her fault is determined by essential. Besides, there are cases where even in the
the Labor Arbiter. Petitioner also contends that, contrary to the finding of exercise of quasi-judicial power, administrative agencies are
the Court of Appeals, a special civil action for certiorari is the allowed, sans prior notice and hearing, to effectuate
Section 54. Repatriation Procedure. – When a need appropriate remedy to raise constitutional issues. measures affecting private property, such as:
for repatriation arises and the foreign employer fails to
provide for it cost, the responsible personnel at site shall Also, petitioner insists that the subject portions of the 1) [F]or the summary abatement of nuisance per se which
simultaneously notify OWWA and the POEA of such need. omnibus rules are invalid on the ground that Section 15 of affects the immediate safety of persons and property, or 2)
The POEA shall notify the agency concerned of the need for Republic Act No. 8042 does not impose on a recruitment in summary proceedings of distraint and levy upon the
repatriation. The agency shall provide the plane ticket or the agency the primary responsibility for the repatriation of a property of delinquent taxpayers in the collection of internal
prepaid ticket advice (PTA) to the Filipinos Resource Center deceased Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), while Section 52 revenue taxes, fees or charges or any increment thereto, or
or to the appropriate Philippine Embassy; and notify POEA of the Omnibus Rules unduly imposes such burden on a 3) in the preventive suspension of a public officer pending
of such compliance. The POEA shall inform OWWA of the placement agency. investigation. x x x.[11]
action of the agency.
Moreover, petitioner argues that the word “likewise” at the The Solicitor General also adds that since petitioner is
Section 55. Action on Non-Compliance. – If the start of the third sentence of Section 15 of Republic Act No. engaged in the recruitment of Filipino workers for work
employment agency fails to provide the ticket or PTA within 8042 is used merely as a connective word indicating the abroad, the nature of its business calls for the exercise of the
48 hours from receipt of the notice, the POEA shall suspend similarity between a recruitment agency’s financial obligation state’s police power in order to safeguard the rights and
the license of the agency or impose such sanctions as it may in the repatriation of living and a deceased OFW. It does welfare of the Filipino laborers. One such measure is the
deem necessary. Upon notice from the POEA, OWWA shall not, however, necessarily make a placement agency primary responsibility imposed upon placement agencies
advance the costs of repatriation with recourse to the agency primarily responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW with regard to the repatriation of an OFW or of his remains.
or principal. The administrative sanction shall not be lifted unlike in the case of an OFW who is alive.
until the agency reimburses the OWWA of the cost of The Solicitor General also argues that the wording of
repatriation with legal interest. As for Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules, petitioner submits Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 leaves no doubt that a
that the same is invalid as Section 15 of Republic Act No. recruitment agency shall bear the primary responsibility for
Said provisions, on the other hand, are supposed to 8042 clearly states that a placement agency shall not in any the repatriation of an OFW whether the latter is dead or
implement Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042[9] which manner be responsible for the repatriation of the deceased alive.
provides: OFW and his or her belongings should the termination of the
OFW’s employment be due to his or her fault. However, as Lastly, the Solicitor General insists that actions
SEC. 15. Repatriation of Workers; Emergency Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules stipulates that a placement assailing the validity of implementing rules and regulations
Repatriation Fund. – The repatriation of the worker and the agency or principal shall bear the primary responsibility of are within the original jurisdiction of the regional trial courts.
transport of his personal belongings shall be the primary repatriating an OFW and of advancing the payment for his or
responsibility of the agency which, recruited or deployed the her plane fare, the omibus rules, as far as this section is We shall first address the procedural question
worker overseas. All costs attendant to repatriation shall be concerned, is an invalid exercise of legislative power by an involved in the present petition.
borne by or charged to the agency concerned and/or its administrative agency.
principal. Likewise, the repatriation of remains and transport There is no denying that regular courts have
of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all In addition, petitioner claims Section 53 of the Omnibus jurisdiction over cases involving the validity or
costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or Rules violates the due process clause of the constitution as constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by
the local agency. However, in cases where the termination it deprives the deploying agency of the right to prior notice administrative agencies. Such jurisdiction, however, is not
of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker, the and hearing through which it can prove that it should not limited to the Court of Appeals or to this Court alone for even
principal/employer or agency shall not in any manner be bear the burden of repatriating an OFW. the regional trial courts can take cognizance of actions
assailing a specific rule or set of rules promulgated by requirements, as enumerated in Ang Tibay, must be The second test or the sufficient standard test, mandates
administrative bodies. Indeed, the Constitution vests the observed. These requirements include prior notice and that there should be adequate guidelines or limitations in the
power of judicial review or the power to declare a law, treaty, hearing. law to determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority
international or executive agreement, presidential decree, and prevent the delegation from running riot.[18]
order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation in the courts, On the other hand, quasi-legislative power is
including the regional trial courts.[12] exercised by administrative agencies through the We resolve that the questioned provisions of the
promulgation of rules and regulations within the confines of Omnibus Rules meet these requirements.
Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegation of
states: certain powers flowing from the separation of the great Basically, petitioner is impugning the subject
branches of the government. Prior notice to and hearing of provisions of the Omnibus Rules for allegedly expanding the
SECTION 1. Petition for Certiorari. – When any every affected party, as elements of due process, are not scope of Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 by: first,
tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial required since there is no determination of past events or imposing upon it the primary obligation to repatriate the
functions has acted without or in excess of its or his facts that have to be established or ascertained. As a remains of the deceased Razon including the duty to
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to general rule, prior notice and hearing are not essential to the advance the cost of the plane fare for the transport of
lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any validity of rules or regulations promulgated to govern future Razon’s remains; and second, by ordering it to do so without
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course conduct. prior determination of the existence of employer-employee
of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition relationship between itself and Razon.
in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and In this case, petitioner assails certain provisions of the
praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying Omnibus Rules. However, these rules were clearly Petitioner’s argument that Section 15 does not provide
the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and promulgated by respondents Department of Foreign Affairs that it shall be primarily responsible for the repatriation of a
granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may and Department of Labor and Employment in the exercise of deceased OFW is specious and plain nitpicking. While
require. their quasi-legislative powers or the authority to promulgate Republic Act No. 8042 does not expressly state that
rules and regulations. Because of this, petitioner was, thus, petitioner shall be primarily obligated to transport back here
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true mistaken in availing himself of the remedy of an original to the Philippines the remains of the deceased Razon,
copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, action for certiorari as obviously, only judicial or quasi- nevertheless, such duty is imposed upon him as the statute
copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent judicial acts are proper subjects thereof. If only for these, clearly dictates that “the repatriation of remains and transport
thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as the petition deserves outright dismissal. Be that as it may, of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all
provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46. we shall proceed to resolve the substantive issues raised in costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or
this petition for review in order to finally remove the doubt the local agency.” The mandatory nature of said obligation
From this, it is clear that in order for a petition for over the validity of Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the is characterized by the legislature’s use of the word “shall.”
certiorari to prosper, the following requisites must be Omnibus Rules. That the concerned government agencies opted to demand
present: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, a board the performance of said responsibility solely upon petitioner
or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) It is now well-settled that delegation of legislative does not make said directives invalid as the law plainly
such tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess power to various specialized administrative agencies is obliges a local placement agency such as herein petitioner
of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to allowed in the face of increasing complexity of modern life. to bear the burden of repatriating the remains of a deceased
lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or Given the volume and variety of interactions involving the OFW with or without recourse to the principal abroad. In this
any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary members of today’s society, it is doubtful if the legislature regard, we see no reason to invalidate Section 52 of the
course of law. can promulgate laws dealing with the minutiae aspects of omnibus rules as Republic Act No. 8042 itself permits the
everyday life. Hence, the need to delegate to administrative situation wherein a local recruitment agency can be held
It bears emphasizing that administrative bodies are bodies, as the principal agencies tasked to execute laws with exclusively responsible for the repatriation of a deceased
vested with two basic powers, the quasi-legislative and the respect to their specialized fields, the authority to promulgate OFW.
quasi-judicial.[13] In Abella, Jr. v. Civil Service Commission, rules and regulations to implement a given statute and
[14] we discussed the nature of these powers to be – effectuate its policies.[15] All that is required for the valid Nor do we see any reason to stamp Section 53 of the
exercise of this power of subordinate legislation is that the Omnibus Rules as invalid for allegedly contravening Section
In exercising its quasi-judicial function, an regulation must be germane to the objects and purposes of 15 of the law which states that a placement agency shall not
administrative body adjudicates the rights of persons before the law; and that the regulation be not in contradiction to, but be responsible for a worker’s repatriation should the
it, in accordance with the standards laid down by the law. in conformity with, the standards prescribed by the law.[16] termination of the employer-employee relationship be due to
The determination of facts and the applicable law, as basis Under the first test or the so-called completeness test, the the fault of the OFW. To our mind, the statute merely states
for official action and the exercise of judicial discretion, are law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it the general principle that in case the severance of the
essential for the performance of this function. On these leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the employment was because of the OFW’s own undoing, it is
considerations, it is elementary that due process delegate, the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it.[17] only fair that he or she should shoulder the costs of his or
her homecoming. Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042, PETROLEUM SHIPPING LIMITED (formerly ESSO De Vera (“Labor Arbiter De Vera”) dismissed the complaint
however, certainly does not preclude a placement agency INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING (BAHAMAS) CO., for lack of merit. Tanchico appealed to the NLRC.
from establishing the circumstances surrounding an OFW’s LTD.) and TRANS-GLOBAL MARITIME AGENCY,
dismissal from service in an appropriate proceeding. As The Ruling of the NLRC
INC., Petitioners, versus NATIONAL LABOR
such determination would most likely take some time, it is
only proper that an OFW be brought back here in our
RELATIONS COMMISSION and FLORELLO W. In its Resolution[6] of 3 September 1998, the NLRC
country at the soonest possible time lest he remains TANCHICO, Respondents. 2006 Jun 16 3rd affirmed the Decision of Labor Arbiter De Vera. Tanchico
stranded in a foreign land during the whole time that Division G.R. No. 148130 filed a motion for reconsideration. In a Resolution[7]
recruitment agency contests its liability for repatriation. As promulgated on 29 March 1999, the NLRC reconsidered its
aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General – DECISION 3 September 1998 Resolution, as follows:

Such a situation is unacceptable. CARPIO, J.: On the claim of illegal dismissal, the same is
unavailing as complainant had been declared as one with
24. This is the same reason why repatriation is The Case partial permanent disability. Thus, he should be entitled to
made by law an obligation of the agency and/or its principal disability benefit of 18 days for every year of credited service
without the need of first determining the cause of the Before the Court is a petition for review[1] assailing the of fourteen (14) years less the amount he already received
termination of the worker’s employment. Repatriation is in 25 January 2001 Decision[2] and 7 May 2001 Resolution[3] under the Company’s Disability Plan.
effect an unconditional responsibility of the agency and/or its of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54756.
principal that cannot be delayed by an investigation of why On the claim of 13th month pay, the respondent
the worker was terminated from employment. To be left The Antecedent Facts Agency not falling under the enumerated exempted
stranded in a foreign land without the financial means to employers under P.D. 851 and in the absence of any proof
return home and being at the mercy of unscrupulous On 6 March 1978, Esso International Shipping that respondent is already paying its employees a 13th
individuals is a violation of the OFW’s dignity and his human (Bahamas) Co., Ltd., (“Esso”) through Trans-Global month pay or more in a calendar year, perforce, respondent
rights. These are the same rights R.A. No. 8042 seeks to Maritime Agency, Inc. (“Trans-Global”) hired Florello W. agency should pay complainant his monthly pay computed
protect.[19] Tanchico (“Tanchico”) as First Assistant Engineer. In 1981, at [sic] the actual month [sic] worked, which is 8 months.
Tanchico became Chief Engineer. On 13 October 1992,
As for the sufficiency of standard test, this Court had, Tanchico returned to the Philippines for a two-month Since complainant was forced to litigate his case, he
in the past, accepted as sufficient standards the following: vacation after completing his eight-month deployment. is hereby awarded 10% of the total award as attorney’s fees.
“public interest,” “justice and equity,” “public convenience
and welfare,” and “simplicity, economy and welfare.”[20] On 8 December 1992, Tanchico underwent the SO ORDERED.[8]
required standard medical examination prior to boarding the
In this case, we hold that the legislature’s pronouncements vessel. The medical examination revealed that Tanchico Esso and Trans-Global moved for the reconsideration
that Republic Act No. 8042 was enacted with the thought of was suffering from “Ischemic Heart Disease, Hypertensive of the 29 March 1999 Resolution.[9] In its 27 July 1999
upholding the dignity of the Filipinos may they be here or Cardio-Muscular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus.” Tanchico Resolution,[10] the NLRC denied their motion.
abroad and that the State shall at all times afford full took medications for two months and a subsequent stress
protection to labor, both here and abroad, meet the test showed a negative result. However, Esso no longer Esso, now using the name Petroleum Shipping Limited
requirement and provide enough guidance for the deployed Tanchico. Instead, Esso offered to pay him (“Petroleum Shipping”), and Trans-Global (collectively
formulation of the omnibus rules. benefits under the Career Employment Incentive Plan. referred to as “petitioners”) filed a petition for certiorari
Tanchico accepted the offer. before the Court of Appeals assailing the 29 March 1999
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is DENIED. The and 27 July 1999 Resolutions of the NLRC.
Court of Appeals’ Decision dated 4 October 2001 and On 26 April 1993, Tanchico filed a complaint against
Resolution dated 18 February 2002 are hereby AFFIRMED. Esso, Trans-Global and Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
With costs. (“Malayan”) before the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA) for illegal dismissal with claims for In its Decision promulgated on 25 January 2001, the
SO ORDERED. backwages, separation pay, disability and medical benefits Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the 29 March 1999
and 13th month pay. In view of the enactment of Republic Resolution of the NLRC.
Act No. 8042 (“RA 8042”)[4] transferring to the National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) the jurisdiction over The Court of Appeals ruled that Tanchico was a
money claims of overseas workers, the case was indorsed to regular employee of Petroleum Shipping. The Court of
the Arbitration Branch of the National Capital Region. In a Appeals held that petitioners are not exempt from the
Decision[5] dated 16 October 1996, Labor Arbiter Jose G. coverage of Presidential Decree No. 851, as amended
(“PD 851”)[11] which mandates the payment of 13th month The Issues employment is for the duration of the season. We need not
pay to all employees. The Court of Appeals further ruled depart from the rulings of the Court in the two
that Tanchico is entitled to disability benefits based on his 14 The issues are as follows: aforementioned cases which indeed constitute stare decisis
years of tenure with petitioners. The Court of Appeals stated with respect to the employment status of seafarers.
that the employer-employee relationship subsisted even 1. Whether Tanchico is a regular employee of
during the period of Tanchico’s vacation. The Court of petitioners; and Petitioners insist that they should be considered
Appeals noted that petitioners were aware of Tanchico’s regular employees, since they have rendered services which
medical history yet they still deployed him for 14 years. 2. Whether Tanchico is entitled to 13th month pay, are usually necessary and desirable to the business of their
Finally, the Court of Appeals sustained the award of disability benefits and attorney’s fees. employer, and that they have rendered more than twenty
attorney’s fees. (20) years of service. While this may be true, the Brent case
The Ruling of This Court has, however, held that there are certain forms of
Petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the employment which also require the performance of usual
Decision. In its 7 May 2001 Resolution, the Court of The petition is partly meritorious. and desirable functions and which exceed one year but do
Appeals modified its Decision by deducting Tanchico’s not necessarily attain regular employment status under
vacation from his length of service. Thus: Seafarers are Contractual Employees Article 280. Overseas workers including seafarers fall under
this type of employment which are governed by the mutual
WHEREFORE, our decision is hereby MODIFIED. The issue on whether seafarers are regular employees agreements of the parties.
The petitioners are ordered to pay to the private respondent is already a settled matter.
the following: (1) disability wages equivalent to 18 days In this jurisdiction and as clearly stated in the
per year multiplied by 10 years less any amount already In Ravago v. Esso Eastern Marine, Ltd.,[14] the Court Coyoca case, Filipino seamen are governed by the Rules
received under the company’s disability plan; prorated 13th traced its ruling in a number of cases that seafarers are and Regulations of the POEA. The Standard Employment
month pay corresponding to eight (8) months of actual work; contractual, not regular, employees. Thus, in Brent School, Contract governing the employment of All Filipino Seamen
and attorney’s fee equivalent to 10% of the total award. Inc. v. Zamora,[15] the Court cited overseas employment on Board Ocean-Going Vessels of the POEA, particularly in
contract as an example of contracts where the concept of Part I, Sec. C specifically provides that the contract of
SO ORDERED.[12] regular employment does not apply, whatever the nature of seamen shall be for a fixed period. And in no case should
the engagement and despite the provisions of Article 280 of the contract of seamen be longer than 12 months. It reads:
Petitioners went to this Court for relief on the following the Labor Code. In Coyoca v. NLRC,[16] the Court held that
grounds: the agency is liable for payment of a seaman’s medical and Section C. Duration of Contract
disability benefits in the event that the principal fails or
I. The Court of Appeals decided a question of refuses to pay the benefits or wages due the seaman The period of employment shall be for a fixed period
substance not in accord with law, applicable decision of this although the seaman may not be a regular employee of the but in no case to exceed 12 months and shall be stated in
Court and International Maritime Law when it ruled that agency. the Crew Contract. Any extension of the Contract period
private respondent, a seafarer, was a regular employee; shall be subject to the mutual consent of the parties.
The Court squarely passed upon the issue in Millares
II. The Court of Appeals decided a question of v. NLRC[17] where one of the issues raised was whether Moreover, it is an accepted maritime industry
substance not in accord with law when it held that the private seafarers are regular or contractual employees whose practice that employment of seafarers are for a fixed period
respondent was entitled to greater disability benefit than he employment are terminated everytime their contracts of only. Constrained by the nature of their employment which
was [sic]; employment expire. The Court explained: is quite peculiar and unique in itself, it is for the mutual
interest of both the seafarer and the employer why the
III. The Court of Appeals decided a question of [I]t is clear that seafarers are considered contractual employment status must be contractual only or for a certain
substance not heretofore determined by this Court when it employees. They can not be considered as regular period of time. Seafarers spend most of their time at sea
ruled that private respondent was entitled to 13th month pay employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code. Their and understandably, they can not stay for a long and an
although it was not provided for in the contract of employment is governed by the contracts they sign indefinite period of time at sea. Limited access to shore
employment between petitioners and private respondent; everytime they are rehired and their employment is society during the employment will have an adverse impact
and terminated when the contract expires. Their employment is on the seafarer. The national, cultural and lingual diversity
contractually fixed for a certain period of time. They fall among the crew during the COE is a reality that necessitates
IV. The Court of Appeals decided a question of under the exception of Article 280 whose employment has the limitation of its period.
substance not in accord with law when it awarded private been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the
respondent attorney’s fees despite the Labor Arbiter’s and completion or termination of which has been determined at Petitioners make much of the fact that they have
the public respondent’s, albeit initially, dismissal of the the time of engagement of the employee or where the work been continually re-hired or their contracts renewed before
complaint.[13] or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the the contracts expired (which has admittedly been going on
for twenty (20) years). By such circumstance they claim to Tanchico’s employment is governed by his Contract of Every effort will be made to grant earned vacations
have acquired regular status with all the rights and benefits Enlistment (“Contract”).[20] The Contract has been approved promptly after eight (8) months of service; however, the
appurtenant to it. by the POEA in accordance with Title I, Book One of the COMPANY shall have the right to advance or delay
Labor Code and the POEA Rules Governing Employment. vacations to coincide with vessel repairs, for operational
Such contention is untenable. Undeniably, this [21] The coverage of the Contract includes Compensation, reasons or due to personal requirements. SEAFARER shall
circumstance of continuous re-hiring was dictated by Overtime, Sundays and Holidays, Vacations, Living receive vacation compensation for each thirty (30) days of
practical considerations that experienced crew members are Allowance, Sickness, Injury and Death, Transportation and continuous service in accordance with the rates listed in
more preferred. Petitioners were only given priority or Travel Expense, Subsistence and Living Quarters. It does Addendum No. 1, Column (12), to be paid in Manila.
preference because of their experience and qualifications not provide for the payment of 13th month pay. The Amounts shall be pro-rated according to the ranks/ratings
but this does not detract the fact that herein petitioners are Contract of Employment,[22] which is the standard and period of time in which the SEAFARER served. For
contractual employees. They can not be considered regular employment contract of the POEA, likewise does not provide period of less than thirty (30) days service, vacations and
employees. x x x[18] for the payment of 13th month pay. compensation shall be reduced proportionately.

The Court reiterated the Millares ruling in Gu-Miro v. In Coyoca v. NLRC which involves a claim for Time off for illness, injury, vacation, leave of absence
Adorable[19] where it held that a radio officer on board a separation pay, this Court held: or stand-by shall not be considered service under the
vessel cannot be considered as a regular employee provisions of this Article.
notwithstanding that the work he performs is necessary and Furthermore, petitioner’s contract did not provide for
desirable in the business of the company. separation benefits. In this connection, it is important to note It is the COMPANY’s intention that each SEAFARER
that neither does POEA standard employment contract for enjoy his full vacation period. Because of urgent fleet needs,
Thus, in the present case, the Court of Appeals erred Filipino seamen provide for such benefits. however, it occasionally may be necessary to recall a
in ruling that Tanchico was a regular employee of Petroleum SEAFARER early from vacation.[24]
Shipping. As a Filipino seaman, petitioner is governed by the
Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment Since Tanchico received compensation during his
On 13th Month Pay and the said Rules do not provide for separation or vacation, the Contract did not terminate on the day he
termination pay. x x x[23] returned to Manila. The Contract remained in force during
The Court of Appeals premised its grant of 13th month Tanchico’s vacation period.
pay on its ruling that Tanchico was a regular employee. The Hence, in the absence of any provision in his Contract
Court of Appeals also ruled that petitioners are not exempt governing the payment of 13th month pay, Tanchico is not However, the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that
from the coverage of PD 851 which requires all employers to entitled to the benefit. Tanchico is entitled to disability benefits of 18 days for every
pay their employees a 13th month pay. year of service. The Court of Appeals ruled that Tanchico’s
On Disability Benefits employment was continuous and that his tenure with
We do not agree with the Court of Appeals. Again, petitioners was for 14 years. Again, the Court of Appeals
Tanchico was a contractual, not a regular, employee. Petitioners allege that Tanchico’s Contract ended on assumed that Tanchico was a regular employee. The Court
Further, PD 851 does not apply to seafarers. The 13 October 1992 when he returned to Manila. They allege of Appeals failed to consider that Tanchico’s employment
WHEREAS clauses of PD 851 provides: that the vacation period is not part of the period of terminated with the end of each contract.
employment.
WHEREAS, it is necessary to further protect the level The Contract provides:
of real wages from ravages of world-wide inflation; We cannot accept petitioners’ contention.
Article VIII
WHEREAS, there has been no increase in the legal The duration of the Contract was for eight months.
minimum wage rates since 1970; The Contract also provides: SICKNESS-INJURY/DEATH

WHEREAS, the Christmas season is an opportune Article V A. The COMPANY shall provide, during the period of
time for society to show its concern for the plight of the the Contract, Insurance coverage for the SEAFARER
working masses so they may properly celebrate Christmas VACATIONS against loss of life, permanent disability, temporary disability,
and New Year. injury, occupational illness, hospital and medical expense in
Vacation days shall be earned at the rate of seven such amounts as the COMPANY shall determine but not
PD 851 contemplates the situation of land-based and one-half days (7.5) days for each thirty (30) days of lower than what the COMPANY would have to pay under the
workers, and not of seafarers who generally earn more than continuous service, calculated from date of departure from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s
domestic land-based workers. Manila and until date of return to Manila. Vacation begins on requirements or the vessel’s flag state requirements
the day following arrival in Manila. (whichever is higher).
B. If SEAFARER is removed from a vessel for forth in the 1st paragraph of this Article VIII and 90 percent payment has been made, the Labor Arbiter is DIRECTED to
medical treatment he shall be entitled to receive a disability of SEAFARER’s last wage rate. determine the amount Tanchico is entitled.
benefit equal to his monthly wage rate (or pro-rata thereof)
from date of disembarkation until date of rejoining his vessel, E. In case of death at sea or at a foreign port, the SO ORDERED.
assignment to another vessel or until date of repatriation to tradition of the sea and requirements of the laws of such
Manila if still disabled. Medical, surgical, hospital, or clinical foreign port will be observed. If practical, every effort will be
treatment shall be recommended by a doctor approved by made on the part of the COMPANY to return the remains of
the COMPANY and SEAFARER must follow all medical a deceased SEAFARER to Manila at COMPANY expense. SUNACE INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT
advices. SEAFARER will not be entitled to disability benefit SERVICES, INC. Petitioner, versus NATIONAL
payments for disability resulting from his own misconduct, F. The SEAFARER acknowledges that even without LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, Second
negligence, unlawful acts, altercations, vice, etc. signed receipts, any wage payments made to him for a
Division; HON. ERNESTO S. DINOPOL, in his
period during which he is entitled to benefits under any law
capacity as Labor Arbiter, NLRC; NCR, Arbitration
C. After disembarkation from a vessel, the by reason of death, temporary or permanent disability, shall
SEAFARER is entitled to one hundred percent (100%) of his be deemed an advance payment of compensation benefits Branch, Quezon City and DIVINA A.
wages until he is declared fit or the degree of permanent due to him under such law, but only to the extent of benefits MONTEHERMOZO, Respondents. 2006 Jan 25 3rd
disability has been assessed by the COMPANY’s physician due for the period of disability during which wages are paid. Division G.R. No. 161757
for a maximum period of 120 days commencing on date of
such disembarkation. Upon the expiration of such 120 days Wages, as set forth in Addendum No. 1, Column (1), DECISION
and if the SEAFARER is still disabled, the SEAFARER shall shall be the basis for any calculation of benefits due
be paid his wages equivalent to 18 days for every year of SEAFARER under this Article VIII.[25] mphasis supplied) CARPIO MORALES, J.:
credited service.
Indications that Tanchico was suffering from ischemia Petitioner, Sunace International Management Services
In special instances and at the discretion of the were detected on 8 December 1992 during Tanchico’s (Sunace), a corporation duly organized and existing under
COMPANY, the maximum number of days of COMPANY vacation period. Thus, petitioners paid him disability benefits the laws of the Philippines, deployed to Taiwan Divina A.
benefits may be extended beyond 120 days for a for 18 days in accordance with the Contract. Tanchico Montehermozo (Divina) as a domestic helper under a 12-
SEAFARER with over 80 months credited COMPANY cannot claim that he only acquired the illness during his last month contract effective February 1, 1997.[1] The
service, or in such other case as may be determined by the deployment since the Medical Report[26] he submitted to the deployment was with the assistance of a Taiwanese broker,
COMPANY. NLRC showed that he has been hypertensive since 1983 Edmund Wang, President of Jet Crown International Co.,
and diabetic since 1987. In the absence of concrete proof Ltd.
Upon expiration of COMPANY benefits and if still that Tanchico acquired his disability during his last
disabled, the following amounts shall be paid up to maximum deployment and not during his vacation, he is only entitled to After her 12-month contract expired on February 1, 1998,
of 365 days, inclusive of the period of the above benefits. disability benefits for 18 days. Divina continued working for her Taiwanese employer, Hang
Rui Xiong, for two more years, after which she returned to
All Ranks ................................................ US $10 Petitioners claim that they already paid Tanchico his the Philippines on February 4, 2000.
per day disability benefits for 18 days but he refused to sign the
receipt.[27] Tanchico alleged that he was only paid under Shortly after her return or on February 14, 2000, Divina filed
D. If disability should occur while SEAFARER is on the Career Employment Incentive Plan.[28] This is a factual a complaint[2] before the National Labor Relations
vacation, he must, within 3 days from date thereof, notify the matter which this Court cannot resolve. This matter has to Commission (NLRC) against Sunace, one Adelaide Perez,
COMPANY’s Agent in the Philippines in order that the latter be remanded to the Labor Arbiter for resolution. the Taiwanese broker, and the employer-foreign principal
shall be able to certify as to his condition. Certification of alleging that she was jailed for three months and that she
disability required for payment of any disability benefits must WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We was underpaid.
be approved by a doctor appointed by the COMPANY and REVERSE and SET ASIDE the 25 January 2001 Decision
SEAFARER must be disabled seven (7) days or more to be and 7 May 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA- The following day or on February 15, 2000, Labor Arbitration
eligible to benefits and sick leave status, COMPANY benefits G.R. SP No. 54756. We REINSTATE the 16 October Associate Regina T. Gavin issued Summons[3] to the
shall be limited to a maximum of 18 days. 1996 Decision of Labor Arbiter Jose G. De Vera dismissing Manager of Sunace, furnishing it with a copy of Divina’s
the complaint for illegal dismissal and the claims for complaint and directing it to appear for mandatory
Benefits under the COMPANY Disability Plan shall backwages, separation pay and 13th month pay. We conference on February 28, 2000.
be made only to the extent and in such amounts as are REMAND the case to the Labor Arbiter to determine if
equal to the differential between any payments which may Florello Tanchico has been paid his disability benefits for 18 The scheduled mandatory conference was reset. It appears
be due SEAFARER under COMPANY’s obligation as set days in accordance with his Contract of Enlistment. If no to have been concluded, however.
On April 6, 2000, Divina filed her Position Paper[4] claiming The rationales behind the award of tax refund We reject Sunace’s submission that it should not be held
that under her original one-year contract and the 2-year and payment of attorney’s fees is not to enrich the responsible for the amount withheld because her contract
extended contract which was with the knowledge and complainant but to compensate him for actual injury was extended for 2 more years without its knowledge and
consent of Sunace, the following amounts representing suffered. Complainant did not suffer injury, hence, does not consent because as Annex “B”[9] shows, Sunace and
income tax and savings were deducted: deserve to be compensated for whatever kind of damages. Edmund Wang have not stopped communicating with each
other and yet the matter of the contract’s extension and
Year Deduction for Deduction for Hence, the complainant has NO cause of Sunace’s alleged non-consent thereto has not been
action against respondent SUNACE for monetary claims, categorically established.
Income Tax Savings considering that she has been totally paid of all the monetary
benefits due her under her Employment Contract to her full What Sunace should have done was to write to POEA about
1997 NT10,450.00 NT23,100.00 satisfaction. the extension and its objection thereto, copy furnished the
complainant herself, her foreign employer, Hang Rui Xiong
1998 NT 9,500.00 NT36,000.00 6. Furthermore, the tax deducted from her salary is in and the Taiwanese broker, Edmund Wang.
compliance with the Taiwanese law, which respondent
1999 NT13,300.00 NT36,000.00;[5] SUNACE has no control and complainant has to obey and And because it did not, it is presumed to have consented to
this Honorable Office has no authority/jurisdiction to the extension and should be liable for anything that resulted
and while the amounts deducted in 1997 were refunded to intervene because the power to tax is a sovereign power thereform (sic).[10] nderscoring supplied)
her, those deducted in 1998 and 1999 were not. On even which the Taiwanese Government is supreme in its own
date, Sunace, by its Proprietor/General Manager Maria Luisa territory. The sovereign power of taxation of a state is The Labor Arbiter rejected too Sunace’s argument that
Olarte, filed its Verified Answer and Position Paper,[6] recognized under international law and among sovereign it is not liable on account of Divina’s execution of a Waiver
claiming as follows, quoted verbatim: states. and Quitclaim and an Affidavit of Desistance. Observed the
Labor Arbiter:
COMPLAINANT IS NOT ENTITLED 7. That respondent SUNACE respectfully
reserves the right to file supplemental Verified Answer Should the parties arrive at any agreement as to the whole
FOR THE REFUND OF HER 24 MONTHS and/or Position Paper to substantiate its prayer for the or any part of the dispute, the same shall be reduced to
dismissal of the above case against the herein respondent. writing and signed by the parties and their respective
SAVINGS AND BY WAY OF - counsel (sic), if any, before the Labor Arbiter.

3. Complainant could not anymore claim nor x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring The settlement shall be approved by the Labor Arbiter after
entitled for the refund of her 24 months savings as she supplied) being satisfied that it was voluntarily entered into by the
already took back her saving already last year and the parties and after having explained to them the terms and
employer did not deduct any money from her salary, in Reacting to Divina’s Position Paper, Sunace filed on consequences thereof.
accordance with a Fascimile Message from the respondent April 25, 2000 an “. . . answer to complainant’s position
SUNACE’s employer, Jet Crown International Co. Ltd., a paper”[7] alleging that Divina’s 2-year extension of her A compromise agreement entered into by the parties not in
xerographic copy of which is herewith attached as ANNEX contract was without its knowledge and consent, hence, it the presence of the Labor Arbiter before whom the case is
“2” hereof; had no liability attaching to any claim arising therefrom, and pending shall be approved by him, if after confronting the
Divina in fact executed a Waiver/Quitclaim and Release of parties, particularly the complainants, he is satisfied that they
COMPLAINANT IS NOT ENTITLED Responsibility and an Affidavit of Desistance, copy of each understand the terms and conditions of the settlement and
document was annexed to said “. . . answer to complainant’s that it was entered into freely voluntarily (sic) by them and
TO REFUND OF HER 14 MONTHS TAX position paper.” the agreement is not contrary to law, morals, and public
policy.
AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY’S FEES To Sunace’s “. . . answer to complainant’s position
paper,” Divina filed a 2-page reply,[8] without, however, And because no consideration is indicated in the
4. There is no basis for the grant of tax documents, we strike them down as contrary to law, morals,
refuting Sunace’s disclaimer of knowledge of the extension
refund to the complainant as the she finished her one year and public policy.[11]
of her contract and without saying anything about the
contract and hence, was not illegally dismissed by her
Release, Waiver and Quitclaim and Affidavit of Desistance.
employer. She could only lay claim over the tax refund or He accordingly decided in favor of Divina, by decision of
much more be awarded of damages such as attorney’s fees The Labor Arbiter, rejected Sunace’s claim that the October 9, 2000,[12] the dispositive portion of which reads:
as said reliefs are available only when the dismissal of a extension of Divina’s contract for two more years was
migrant worker is without just valid or lawful cause as without its knowledge and consent in this wise: Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered ordering
defined by law or contract. respondents SUNACE INTERNATIONAL SERVICES and its
owner ADELAIDA PERGE, both in their personal capacities that “It is undisputed that [Sunace] was continually Parenthetically, since the telefax message is dated February
and as agent of Hang Rui Xiong/Edmund Wang to jointly and communicating with [Divina’s] foreign employer.” It thus 21, 2000, it is safe to assume that it was sent to enlighten
severally pay complainant DIVINA A. MONTEHERMOZO concluded that “[a]s agent of the foreign principal, ‘petitioner Sunace who had been directed, by Summons issued on
the sum of NT91,950.00 in its peso equivalent at the date of cannot profess ignorance of such extension as obviously, February 15, 2000, to appear on February 28, 2000 for a
payment, as refund for the amounts which she is hereby the act of the principal extending complainant (sic) mandatory conference following Divina’s filing of the
adjudged entitled to as earlier discussed plus 10% thereof as employment contract necessarily bound it.’” complaint on February 14, 2000.
attorney’s fees since compelled to litigate, complainant had
to engage the services of counsel. Contrary to the Court of Appeals finding, the alleged Respecting the Court of Appeals following dictum:
continuous communication was with the Taiwanese broker
SO ORDERED.[13] (Underescoring supplied) Wang, not with the foreign employer Xiong. As agent of its foreign principal, [Sunace] cannot profess
ignorance of such an extension as obviously, the act of its
On appeal of Sunace, the NLRC, by Resolution of April 30, The February 21, 2000 telefax message from the Taiwanese principal extending [Divina’s] employment contract
2002,[14] affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s decision. broker to Sunace, the only basis of a finding of continuous necessarily bound it,[22] it too is a misapplication, a
communication, reads verbatim: misapplication of the theory of imputed knowledge.
Via petition for certiorari,[15] Sunace elevated the case to
the Court of Appeals which dismissed it outright by xxxx The theory of imputed knowledge ascribes the
Resolution of November 12, 2002,[16] the full text of which knowledge of the agent, Sunace, to the principal, employer
reads: Regarding to Divina, she did not say anything about her Xiong, not the other way around.[23] The knowledge of the
saving in police station. As we contact with her employer, principal-foreign employer cannot, therefore, be imputed to
The petition for certiorari faces outright dismissal. she took back her saving already last years. And they did its agent Sunace.
not deduct any money from her salary. Or she will call back
The petition failed to allege facts constitutive of grave abuse her employer to check it again. If her employer said yes! we There being no substantial proof that Sunace knew of and
of discretion on the part of the public respondent amounting will get it back for her. consented to be bound under the 2-year employment
to lack of jurisdiction when the NLRC affirmed the Labor contract extension, it cannot be said to be privy thereto. As
Arbiter’s finding that petitioner Sunace International Thank you and best regards. such, it and its “owner” cannot be held solidarily liable for
Management Services impliedly consented to the extension any of Divina’s claims arising from the 2-year employment
of the contract of private respondent Divina A. (sgd.) extension. As the New Civil Code provides,
Montehermozo. It is undisputed that petitioner was
continually communicating with private respondent’s foreign Edmund Wang Contracts take effect only between the parties, their assigns,
employer (sic). As agent of the foreign principal, “petitioner and heirs, except in case where the rights and obligations
cannot profess ignorance of such extension as obviously, President[19] arising from the contract are not transmissible by their
the act of the principal extending complainant (sic) nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.[24]
employment contract necessarily bound it.” Grave abuse of The finding of the Court of Appeals solely on the basis of the
discretion is not present in the case at bar. above-quoted telefax message, that Sunace continually Furthermore, as Sunace correctly points out, there was an
communicated with the foreign “principal” (sic) and therefore implied revocation of its agency relationship with its foreign
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DENIED DUE was aware of and had consented to the execution of the principal when, after the termination of the original
COURSE and DISMISSED.[17] extension of the contract is misplaced. The message does employment contract, the foreign principal directly negotiated
not provide evidence that Sunace was privy to the new with Divina and entered into a new and separate
SO ORDERED. contract executed after the expiration on February 1, 1998 of employment contract in Taiwan. Article 1924 of the New
the original contract. That Sunace and the Taiwanese broker Civil Code reading
(Emphasis on words in capital letters in the original; communicated regarding Divina’s allegedly withheld savings
emphasis on words in small letters and underscoring does not necessarily mean that Sunace ratified the The agency is revoked if the principal directly manages the
supplied) extension of the contract. As Sunace points out in its business entrusted to the agent, dealing directly with third
Reply[20] filed before the Court of Appeals, persons.
Its Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by the
appellate court by Resolution of January 14, 2004,[18] As can be seen from that letter communication, it was just an thus applies.
Sunace filed the present petition for review on certiorari. information given to the petitioner that the private respondent
had t[aken] already her savings from her foreign employer In light of the foregoing discussions, consideration of the
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Labor Arbiter and NLRC’s and that no deduction was made on her salary. It contains validity of the Waiver and Affidavit of Desistance which
finding that Sunace knew of and impliedly consented to the nothing about the extension or the petitioner’s consent Divina executed in favor of Sunace is rendered unnecessary.
extension of Divina’s 2-year contract. It went on to state thereto.[21]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged their cause of action because of difficulties in rate of US$370.00 to SR 800.00 per month in clear violation
resolutions of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED communication. of Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042.
and SET ASIDE. The complaint of respondent Divina A.
Montehermozo against petitioner is DISMISSED. On May 31, 2002, the labor arbiter rendered a decision As to the alleged incompetence of respondent, the appellate
holding that the modification of respondent’s employment court noted that said allegation has not been substantiated
SO ORDERED. contract is not allowed under Section 10 of Republic Act No. hence should not be given any credence. Thus, for failure of
8042 (R.A. No. 8042);[5] thus, he should have received the petitioner to show just cause for the demotion of respondent,
original contracted salary of US$370.00 per month instead of the appellate court granted the petition, set aside resolution
the new rate given by SAAD. It was also noted that dated November 24, 2000 of the NLRC, and reinstated the
PLACEWELL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES respondent did not refute petitioner’s allegation regarding the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated May 31, 2002, the
CORPORATION, Petitioner, versus IRENEO B. non-payment of placement and other processing fees prior dispositive portion of which follows:
CAMOTE, Respondent. 2006 Jun 261st Division to deployment. The labor arbiter also found that there is no
differential as far as respondent’s overtime pay is concerned WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is
G.R. No. 169973
considering that he was given overtime pay based on the GRANTED. The assailed Resolution dated 24 November
new rate of SR 800.00. Since respondent rendered one 2000 of the NLRC, Fifth Division is SET ASIDE and the
DECISION
hour of overtime work per day for only 18 months, and not Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 31 May 2002 is
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: the entire 24 months as claimed, the total overtime pay he REINSTATED and AFFIRMED with modifications. The
received is more or less equivalent to the amount he ought exchange rate shall be that prevailing at the time of actual
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the to have received if the original contracted rate of US$370.00 payment. Private respondent, PLACEWELL
Rules of Court assails the September 27, 2005 Decision[1] was used. Finally, the labor arbiter awarded respondent INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION is hereby
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 77145, which set attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total judgment ordered jointly and severally liable to pay petitioner, IRENEO
aside the November 20, 2002 Resolution[2] of the National award for being compelled to hire a counsel to protect his B. CAMOTE the following:
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and reinstated with rights and interests. The dispositive portion of the Decision
modifications the May 31, 2002 Decision[3] of Labor Arbiter reads: Per POEA approved contract or $370.00 x (rate of exchange
Arturo L. Gamolo. at the time of actual payment) x 24 months = Total salary in
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby the original contract
The records show that on August 15, 1999, petitioner rendered ORDERING respondent PLACEWELL
Placewell International Services Corporation (PISC) INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION to pay Less:
deployed respondent Ireneo B. Camote to work as building complainant IRENEO B. CAMOTE the amount of PESOS:
TWO HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED Salary as Modified or SR 800 x P12.00 x 24 months =
carpenter for SAAD Trading and Contracting Co. (SAAD) at
TWENTY FOUR ONLY (P215,424.00) representing P230,400.00
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for a contract duration of
two years, with a corresponding salary of US$370.00 per underpayment of wages and attorney’s fees.
Less:
month.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Unauthorized Deductions or SR 4,885 x P12 =
At the job site, respondent was allegedly found incompetent
On appeal by the petitioner, the NLRC set aside the P171,780.00
by his foreign employer; thus the latter decided to terminate
his services. However, respondent pleaded for his retention Decision of the Labor Arbiter, to wit:
P
and consented to accept a lower salary of SR 800.00 per
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision 58,620.00
month. Thus, SAAD retained respondent until his return to
the Philippines two years after. is Vacated and Set Aside. In lieu thereof, a new judgment is
rendered, dismissing the above-entitled case for lack of Less:
On November 27, 2001, respondent filed a sworn cause of action.
Unpaid placement fee
Complaint[4] for monetary claims against petitioner alleging
that when he arrived at the job site, he and his fellow Filipino SO ORDERED.[7]
Equals:
workers were required to sign another employment contract
Aggrieved, respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari under
written in Arabic under the constraints of losing their jobs if Total unpaid salary
Rule 65 in the Court of Appeals which set aside the
they refused; that for the entire duration of the new contract,
Resolution of the NLRC, and reinstated with modifications
he received only SR 590.00 per month; that he was not Add:
the Decision of the labor arbiter. The appellate court held
given his overtime pay despite rendering nine hours of work
that there was a diminution of respondent’s salary – from a
everyday; that he and his co-workers sought assistance from Attorney’s fees or 5% of the total unpaid salary
the Philippine Embassy but they did not succeed in pursuing
Equals: Petitioner’s contention that respondent is guilty of laches is SO ORDERED.
without basis. Laches has been defined as the failure of or
Total Money Claims. neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR, Petitioner, versus
to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or should PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. 2008
SO ORDERED.[8] have been done earlier, or to assert a right within reasonable Nov 14 2nd Division G.R. No. 176169
time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto
Hence, this petition. has either abandoned it or declined to assert it. Thus, the DECISION
doctrine of laches presumes that the party guilty of
Petitioner avers that respondent failed to substantiate the negligence had the opportunity to do what should have been Tinga, J.:
allegation that he was forced to enter into the new done, but failed to do so. Conversely, if the said party did
employment contract with SAAD which proves that the new not have the occasion to assert the right, then, he can not be This is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of
contract was actually voluntarily entered and agreed upon adjudged guilty of laches. Laches is not concerned with the Court filed by petitioner Rosario Nasi-Villar assailing the
between said parties; that if respondent was indeed forced to mere lapse of time, rather, the party must have been Decision[2] dated 27 June 2005 and Resolution[3] dated 28
sign the new contract, his claims are now barred by laches afforded an opportunity to pursue his claim in order that the November 2006 of the Court of Appeals. This case
because respondent never informed petitioner of any delay may sufficiently constitute laches.[13] originated from an Information[4] for Illegal Recruitment as
problem at the job site until two years after his deployment; defined under Sections 6 and 7 of Republic Act (R.A.)
that the appellate court’s award for unauthorized deductions The doctrine of laches is based upon grounds of public
in the amount of P171,780.00 should be deleted for lack of policy which requires, for the peace of society, the No. 8042[5] filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
legal or factual basis; that respondent is not entitled to discouragement of stale claims, and is principally a question Davao del Sur on 5 October 1998 for acts committed by
attorney’s fees. of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to petitioner and one Dolores Placa in or about January 1993.
be enforced or asserted. There is no absolute rule as to The Information reads:
R.A. No. 8042 explicitly prohibits the substitution or alteration what constitutes laches; each case is to be determined
to the prejudice of the worker, of employment contracts according to its particular circumstances. The question of That on [sic] or about the month of [January 1993], in the
already approved and verified by the Department of Labor laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, and Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Province of Davao del Sur,
and Employment (DOLE) from the time of actual signing since it is an equitable doctrine, its application is controlled Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court,
thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the by equitable considerations. It cannot be worked to defeat the aforenamed accused, conspiring together, confederating
expiration of the same without the approval of the DOLE.[9] justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice.[14] with and mutually helping one another through fraudulent
Thus, we held in Chavez v. Bonto-Perez[10] that the representation and deceitful machination, did then and there
subsequently executed side agreement of an overseas In the instant case, respondent filed his claim within the [willfully], unlawfully and feloniously recruit Nila Panilag for
contract worker with her foreign employer which reduced her three-year prescriptive period for the filing of money claims employment abroad[,] demand and receive the amount of
salary below the amount approved by the POEA is void set forth in Article 291 of the Labor Code from the time the P6,500.00 Philippine Currency [sic] as placement fee[,] the
because it is against our existing laws, morals and public cause of action accrued. Thus, we find that the doctrine of said accused being a non-licensee or non-holder of authority
policy. The said side agreement cannot supersede her laches finds no application in this case. to engage in the recruitment of workers abroad to the
standard employment contract approved by the POEA.[11] damage and prejudice of the herein offended party.
The labor arbiter and the Court of Appeals did not err
Applying the same rule in the case at bar, the unauthorized in awarding attorney’s fees to respondent. It is settled that in CONTRARY TO LAW.[6]
alteration in the employment contract of respondent, actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was
particularly the diminution in his salary from US$370.00 to forced to litigate and incur expenses to protect his rights and On 3 July 2002, after due trial, the Regional Trial Court
SR 800.00 per month, is void for violating the POEA- interests, he is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.[15] (RTC), Br. 18, Digos City, Davao del Sur found the evidence
approved contract which set the minimum standards, terms, However, with regard to Unauthorized Deductions presented by the prosecution to be more credible than that
and conditions of his employment. amounting to P171,780.00;[16] we note that the appellate presented by the defense and thus held petitioner liable for
court did not state any basis for its award, thus, the same is the offense of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code, as
Moreover, we find that there was no proper dismissal of deleted for lack of factual and legal basis. amended.[7] The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
respondent by SAAD; the “termination” of respondent was
clearly a ploy to pressure him to agree to a lower wage rate WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTLY WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby finds
for continued employment. Thus, the original POEA- GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- accused ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR GUILTY BEYOND
approved employment contract of respondent subsists G.R. SP No. 77145 dated September 27, 2005 is REASONABLE DOUBT of Illegal Recruitment and, in
despite the so-called new agreement with SAAD. AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the amount of accordance with the penalty set forth under the Labor Code,
Consequently, the solidary liability of petitioner with SAAD P171,780 representing Unauthorized Deductions is as amended, said accused is hereby sentenced to an
for respondent’s money claims continues in accordance with DELETED for lack of basis. indeterminate penalty ranging from FOUR YEARS as
Section 10 of R.A. 8042.[12] minimum to FIVE YEARS as maximum.
On the civil aspect of the case, there being no substantial effect and that the decision of the RTC constitutes a violation a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is of no
proof presented to justify a grant of civil damages, this Court of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law. concern to the accused what the technical name of the crime
makes no pronouncement thereon. Since R.A. No. 8042 did not yet exist in January 1993 when of which he stands charged is. If the accused performed the
the crime was allegedly committed, petitioner argues that acts alleged in the body of the information, in the manner
With respect to accused Ma. Dolores Placa, who is still at law cannot be used as the basis of filing a criminal action for stated, then he ought to be punished and punished
large, the records of this case are hereby sent to the illegal recruitment. What was applicable in 1993 is the Labor adequately, whatever may be the name of the crime which
archives to be retrieved in the event that said accused would Code, where under Art. 38, in relation to Art. 39, the violation those acts constitute.[14]
be apprehended. Issue an alias warrant of arrest for the of the Code is penalized with imprisonment of not less than
apprehension of said accused. four (4) years nor more than eight (8) years or a fine of not In the case at bar, the prosecution established beyond
less than P20,000.00 and not more than P100,000.00 or reasonable doubt that petitioner had performed the acts
SO ORDERED.[8] both. On the other hand, Sec. 7(c) of R.A. No. 8042 constituting the offense defined in Art. 38, in relation to Art.
penalizes illegal recruitment with a penalty of imprisonment 13(b) and punished by Art. 39 of the Labor Code, as alleged
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals raising as sole of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more in the body of the Information. To prove illegal recruitment,
issue the alleged error by the trial court in finding her guilty than twelve (12) years and a fine not less than P200,000.00 two elements must be shown, namely: (1) the person
of illegal recruitment on the basis of the trial court’s nor more than P500,000.00. Thus, the penalty of charged with the crime must have undertaken recruitment
appreciation of the evidence presented by the prosecution. imprisonment provided in the Labor Code was raised or activities, or any of the activities enumerated in Article 34 of
increased by R.A. No. 8042. Petitioner concludes that the the Labor Code, as amended; and (2) said person does not
The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated 27 June 2005,[9] charge and conviction of an offense carrying a penalty have a license or authority to do so.[15] Art. 13(b) defines
following the principle that an appeal in a criminal case higher than that provided by the law at the time of its “recruitment and placement” as “any act of canvassing,
throws the whole case wide open for review, noted that the commission constitutes a violation of the prohibition against enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or
criminal acts alleged to have been committed happened ex post facto law and the retroactive application of R.A. No. procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services,
sometime in 1993. However, R.A. No. 8042, under which 8042. promising, or advertising for employment, locally or abroad,
petitioner was charged, was approved only on 7 June 1995 whether for profit or not; Provided that any person or entity
and took effect on 15 July 1995. Thus, the Court of Appeals In its Comment[12] dated 7 September 2007, the Office of which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee
declared that petitioner should have been charged under the the Solicitor General (OSG) argues that the Court of employment to two or more persons, is considered engaged
Labor Code, in particular Art. 13(b) thereof, and not under Appeals’ conviction of petitioner under the Labor Code is in recruitment and placement.” The trial court found these
R.A. No. 8042. Accordingly, it made its findings on the basis correct. While conceding that there was an erroneous two elements had been proven in the case at bar. Petitioner
of the provisions of the Labor Code and found petitioner designation of the law violated by petitioner, the OSG has not offered any argument or proof that countervails such
liable under Art. 38, in relation to Art. 13(b), and Art. 39 of stresses that the designation of the offense in the findings.
the Labor Code. The appellate court affirmed with Information is not determinative of the nature and character
modification the decision of the RTC, decreeing in the of the crime charged against her but the acts alleged in the The basic rule is that a criminal act is punishable under the
dispositive portion, thus: Information. The allegations in the Information clearly law in force at the time of its commission. Thus, petitioner
charge petitioner with illegal recruitment as defined in Art. can only be charged and found guilty under the Labor Code
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the appealed 38, in relation to Art. 13(b) of the Labor Code, and penalized which was in force in 1993 when the acts attributed to her
Decision of the Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, under Art. 39(c) of the same Code. The evidence on record were committed. Petitioner was charged in 1998 under an
Br. 18, City of Digos, Province of Davao del Sur, finding substantiates the charge to a moral certainty. Thus, while Information that erroneously designated the offense as
Rosario Nasi-Villar guilty beyond reasonable doubt o the there was an erroneous specification of the law violated by covered by R.A. No. 8042, but alleged in its body acts which
crime of Illegal Recruitment is AFFIRMED with petitioner in the Information, the CA was correct in affirming are punishable under the Labor Code. As it was proven that
MODIFICATION in that Rosario Nasi-Villar is ORDERED to the RTC’s imposition of the penalty for simple illegal petitioner had committed the acts she was charged with, she
pay Nila Panilag the sum of P10,000.00 as temperate recruitment under the Labor Code, the OSG concludes. was properly convicted under the Labor Code, and not under
damages. R.A. No. 8042.
The petition is denied. We find no reversible error in the
SO ORDERED.[10] decision arrived at by the Court of Appeals. There is no violation of the prohibition against ex post facto
law nor a retroactive application of R.A. No. 8042, as alleged
On 28 November 2006, the appellate court denied In Gabriel v. Court of Appeals,[13] we held that the real by petitioner. An ex post facto law is one which, among
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.[11] nature of the crime charged is determined, not from the others, aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was
caption or preamble of the information nor from the when committed or changes the punishment and inflicts a
Hence, petitioner filed the instant petition for review. specification of the law alleged to have been violated—these greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when
being conclusions of law—but by the actual recital of facts in committed.[16] Penal laws and laws which, while not penal
Petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to the complaint or information. What controls is not the in nature, nonetheless have provisions defining offenses and
consider that R.A. No. 8042 cannot be given retroactive designation but the description of the offense charged. From prescribing penalties for their violation operate prospectively.
Penal laws cannot be given retroactive effect, except when (Belsally). Respondent was deployed on board MV Orchid representing his unpaid salary and other accrued benefits for
they are favorable to the accused.[17] Bridge (formerly MV Bangkok Bridge). Under the the month of June 1998.
Employment Contract, respondent was entitled to a basic
R.A. No. 8042 amended pertinent provisions of the Labor monthly salary of US$650, supervisory allowance of US$228 Ten percent of the amount awarded as and for
Code and gave a new definition of the crime of illegal a month, subsistence allowance of US$33 a month, attorney’s fees.
recruitment and provided for its higher penalty. There is no guaranteed overtime pay of US$484 a month, and vacation
indication in R.A. No. 8042 that said law, including the leave with pay of US$130. The contract period was for ten Other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.
penalties provided therein, would take effect retroactively. A months.
law can never be considered ex post facto as long as it SO ORDERED.[5]
operates prospectively since its strictures would cover only On 24 June 1998, MV Orchid Bridge docked in the
offenses committed after and not before its enactment.[18] port of Manila. Respondent asked permission from the The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent was not
Neither did the trial court nor the appellate court give R.A. vessel’s Master to allow him to visit his wife who was illegally dismissed from employment. The Labor Arbiter ruled
No. 8042 a retroactive application since both courts passed confined at the Seaman’s Hospital in Manila for an that respondent admitted that he failed to finish his contract
upon petitioner’s case only under the aegis of the Labor operation. The vessel’s Master allowed respondent to leave because he failed to rejoin the vessel as he had agreed with
Code. The proceedings before the trial court and the provided that he would rejoin the vessel when it returns to the vessel’s Master. The Labor Arbiter ruled that as Third
appellate court did not violate the prohibition against ex post Singapore and Malaysia on 2 July 1998. Respondent Officer and fourth in command of a vessel, respondent’s
facto law nor involved a retroactive application of R.A. No. obtained a cash advance of US$500 prior to his duties and responsibilities could not just be delegated to any
8042 in any way. disembarkation. Two days before his scheduled return to member of the crew. The Labor Arbiter ruled that
the vessel, respondent informed Ventis that he could not respondent’s separation from service was of his own doing.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed leave his wife to rejoin the vessel. He was replaced by one As such, he was not entitled to payment of his salaries for
Decision dated 27 June 2005 and Resolution dated 28 Celino Dio. Respondent’s wife was discharged from the the unexpired portion of his contract or the three-month
November 2006 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. hospital on 11 July 1998. salary under Republic Act No. 8042.[6] The Labor Arbiter
only awarded respondent’s accrued benefits[7] until 24 June
SO ORDERED. On 24 July 1998, Ventis filed a Complaint for 1998.
Disciplinary Action against respondent before the Philippine
Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). Ventis alleged that Respondent appealed from the Labor Arbiter’s
respondent committed a serious breach of contract and Decision before the National Labor Relations Commission
VENTIS MARITIME CORPORATION and prayed, among others, for the cancellation of respondent’s (NLRC).
BELSALLY SHIPPING, S.A., Petitioners, versus name from the POEA’s Seaman’s Book of Registry and for
his permanent disqualification from the POEA’s Overseas The Ruling of the NLRC
COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR
Program.
RELATIONS COMMISSION and AGAPITO C. In its 21 June 2000 Decision,[8] the NLRC set aside
AGONCILLO, JR., Respondents.2008 Oct 6 1st During the pendency of the case, respondent filed a the Labor Arbiter’s Decision. The NLRC ruled that
Division G.R. No. 160338 complaint for illegal dismissal, non-payment of salaries, respondent did not abandon his work but sought the
overtime pay, vacation pay, and other monetary claims permission of the vessel’s Master before disembarking. The
DECISION before the Labor Arbiter against Ventis and Belsally NLRC ruled that respondent’s acts were justified under the
(petitioners). Petitioners countered that respondent’s act circumstances. The NLRC ruled that under the Collective
CARPIO, J.: violated the Seaman’s Oath of Undertaking which requires Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between All Japan Seamen’s
the employee to serve his employer at least a one-month Union/Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of
The Case notice before he terminates his contract. the Philippines and Taiyo Kabushi Kaisha represented by
Ventis, respondent may take a leave of absence during his
Before the Court is a petition for review[1] The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter spouse’s illness. The NLRC ruled that respondent’s
assailing the 30 June 2003 Decision[2] and 9 October 2003 absence from 2 July 1998 until 11 July 1998 hardly
Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. In her 15 February 1999 Decision,[4] Labor Arbiter constituted abandonment as to warrant his dismissal from
64391. Ermita Abrasaldo- Cuyuca (Labor Arbiter) ruled, as follows: the service. The NLRC ruled that before the vessel’s
departure on 2 July 1998, respondent already sent a
The Antecedent Facts WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is message to the Master that he could not rejoin the vessel
hereby rendered ordering respondent Ventis Maritime and recommended someone to take his place. The NLRC
On 8 January 1998, Ventis Maritime Corporation Corporation and Belsally Shipping S.A. to pay complainant noted that respondent’s clearance, given by the Japan
(Ventis) hired Agapito C. Agoncillo, Jr. (respondent) as a Agapito C. Agoncillo, Jr. the amount of US$767.84 Maritime Safety Agency and acknowledged by the ship’s
Third Officer for its principal Belsally Shipping, S.A. Master, stated that respondent would disembark for
humanitarian reasons. The NLRC stated that respondent and he recommended someone to take his place. The Court deduced from the bare or incomplete facts appearing of
should also be allowed to extend his leave for humanitarian of Appeals further sustained the NLRC that petitioners record.[14]
reasons. Finally, the NLRC ruled that respondent’s should have allowed respondent to extend his leave for
dismissal was tainted with bad faith. humanitarian reasons. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent was not
illegally dismissed from employment. Instead, he failed to
The dispositive portion of the NLRC’s Decision reads: The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ rejoin the vessel as per his agreement with the vessel’s
Decision reads: Master. The NLRC ruled otherwise, finding petitioners guilty
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is set aside. of illegal dismissal. The Court of Appeals sustained the
Judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondents to jointly WHEREFORE, this instant Petition for Certiorari with NLRC. We find that the findings of the Labor Arbiter are
and severally pay: prayer for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction more in accord with the records of the case.
and/or a Temporary Restraining Order is hereby DENIED.
1. complainant his salaries equivalent to the unexpired The Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission In this case, respondent was not ordered to disembark.
portion of his contract; dated June 21, 2000 in NLRC NCR CA No. 09699-99, is He was not repatriated. When MV Orchid Bridge docked in
hereby AFFIRMED. Additionally, petitioners Ventis Maritime Manila, respondent asked for a leave of absence to attend to
2. P50,000.00 as moral damages; and Corporation and Bel Sally Shipping, S.A. are directed to his wife who was then in the hospital. His disembarkation
reimburse private respondent Agapito Agoncillo his was out of the contract but it was guaranteed by Capt.
3. Attorney’s fee of 10% of the total award hereof. placement fee with twelve percent (12%) interest per annum Virgilio R. Aris and eventually allowed by the vessel’s Master
conformably with Sec. 10 of RA 8042. on the condition that he would return to the vessel on 2 July
The claim for exemplary damages is dismissed for 1998. However, two days before his supposed return to the
lack of sufficient basis. SO ORDERED.[11] vessel, respondent informed Ventis that he could not rejoin
the vessel because his wife was still in the hospital. In short,
The claim for reinstatement or payment of separation Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 9 it was respondent who failed to return to his work. He was
pay is denied because based on the records, complainant is October 2003 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied their not terminated from his employment.
a contract worker with a fixed period of employment of ten motion.
(10) months. The Court of Appeals justified its ruling by citing the
Hence, the petition before this Court on the ground that CBA between All Japan Seamen’s Union/Associated Marine
SO ORDERED.[9] the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines and Taiyo
disregarding the findings of the Labor Arbiter that respondent Kabushi Kaisha which states:
Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the NLRC’s abandoned his post.
Decision. In its 29 November 2000 Order,[10] the NLRC When the spouse or child, or in the case of a single
denied their motion. The Issue man, a parent, dies or falls dangerously ill (and when the
company can confirm it) whil[e] the seafarer is abroad, the
Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Court The sole issue in this case is whether petitioners company shall make every effort to repatriate the seafarer
of Appeals. illegally dismissed respondent from employment. concerned as quickly as possible and pay for the repatriation
if seafarer is repatriated.[15]
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The Ruling of this Court
The Court of Appeals ruled that the CBA clearly
In its 30 June 2003 Decision, the Court of Appeals The petition has merit. afforded respondent to take a leave of absence during his
affirmed the NLRC’s Decision. The Court of Appeals ruled wife’s illness. However, in this case, respondent did not
that for a dismissal to be valid, two requirements must be Factual issues may be considered by this Court when seek to extend his leave of absence. He did not try to use
met: the employee must be afforded due process, and the the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Labor his emergency leave. Instead, he just informed Ventis that
dismissal must be for a valid cause. The Court of Appeals Arbiter are inconsistent with those of the NLRC and the he would not be able to rejoin the vessel as scheduled.
sustained the NLRC’s finding that respondent was dismissed Court of Appeals.[12] The general rule is that factual There was also no evidence on record to show that
without being informed of the cause of his dismissal and findings of the labor officials are conclusive and binding respondent’s wife was dangerously ill that would warrant the
without being afforded the opportunity to present his side. when supported by substantial evidence. Substantial application of the CBA. Respondent did not even claim that
The Court of Appeals likewise rejected petitioners’ claim that evidence means that amount of relevant evidence which a he had to take an extended leave because his wife was
respondent abandoned his post as Third Officer when he reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a dangerously ill. Thus, the Court of Appeals erred in applying
failed to return to the vessel on the agreed date. The Court conclusion.[13] This Court will not uphold erroneous the CBA in this case.
of Appeals sustained the NLRC’s finding that two days conclusions as when it finds insufficient or insubstantial
before he was expected to join the vessel, respondent evidence on record to support the factual findings, or when it The Court of Appeals ruled that when his services
informed the ship’s Master that he could not rejoin the vessel is perceived that far too much is concluded, inferred, or were terminated, respondent immediately filed a complaint
for illegal dismissal against petitioners. According to the On July 18, 1996, pursuant to a contract of pay complainant the amount of US$258.00 as underpayment
Court of Appeals, respondent’s act is contrary to the employment,[2] Deogracias Cansino, petitioner, worked as a of wages from September to November 1886 and
allegation of abandonment. The records state otherwise. seaman in the Medbulk Maritime Management Corporation, US$10,000.00 representing his salary from December 1996
a local manning agent of Sea Justice, S.A., a Greek shipping to July 1997.
The Court notes that on 24 July 1998, 22 days after company. Under the contract, petitioner will serve on board
respondent was supposed to return but failed to join MV the vessel M/V Commander for a term of twelve (12) months SO ORDERED.
Orchid Bridge, Ventis filed a complaint before the POEA with a monthly basic salary of US$470.00, fixed overtime
against respondent. On the other hand, respondent’s pay of US$141.00 for 120 hours, and vacation leave with Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration but it
complaint for illegal dismissal was filed only on 27 October pay of US$63.00 per month, or a total monthly compensation was denied.
1998. Obviously, the filing of the illegal dismissal case was of US$674.00. The contract was then processed and
an afterthought on the part of respondent. The records show approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Respondents then filed with the Court of Appeals a
that the POEA case filed by Ventis was resolved against Administration (POEA). petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
respondent. The POEA found respondent liable for Procedure, as amended.
abandonment of post and imposed upon him the penalty of While on board the M/V Commander, the ship’s
suspension from participating in its overseas employment master, Captain Nikolaos Kandylis, unilaterally altered the On March 21, 2002, the Court of Appeals promulgated
program for six months.[16] The POEA decision became terms and conditions of the employment contract. its Decision granting respondents’ petition and setting aside
final and executory on 12 May 2005.[17] Hence, there is no Petitioner’s position as seaman was changed to pumpman. the NLRC Decision.
basis for the finding of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals Actually this was a promotion considering that his initial
that respondent did not abandon his work and was instead monthly pay of US$674.00 was raised to US$1,164.00. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.
terminated from employment. However, it was denied by the appellate court on September
Later, Captain Kandylis received several derogatory 5, 2002.
WHEREFORE, we SET ASIDE the 30 June 2003 reports against petitioner, such as drunkenness,
Decision and 9 October 2003 Resolution of the Court of insubordination, abandonment of post, and disorderly Hence, the instant petition raising the sole issue of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 64391 affirming the 21 June behavior. These were duly recorded in the ship’s logbook. whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that
2000 Decision of the NLRC. We REINSTATE the 15 petitioner’s dismissal from employment was for cause.
February 1999 Decision of the Labor Arbiter. On August 10, 1996, seven (7) members of the crew
of M/V Commander (including petitioner) submitted a Section 2, Rule VII, Book IV of the POEA Rules And
SO ORDERED. request to Captain Kandylis for early repatriation because of Regulations Governing Overseas Employment provides:
family problems. Their requests were granted. After
disembarking, they were furnished hotel accommodations SEC. 2. Grounds for Disciplinary Action. – Commission
and repatriation expenses. Petitioner then returned to the by the worker of any of the offenses enumerated below or of
DEOGRACIAS CANSINO, Petitioner, versus Philippines. similar offenses while working overseas shall be subject to
appropriate disciplinary actions as the Administration may
PRUDENTIAL SHIPPING AND MANAGEMENT
On November 18, 1996, petitioner filed with the deem necessary:
CORPORATION (in substitution for MEDBULK
Arbitration Branch, NLRC, National Capital Region a
MARITIME MANAGEMENT CORPORATION) and xxx
complaint for illegal dismissal and underpayment of wages
SEA JUSTICE, S.A., Respondents.2007 Feb 201st
against Medbulk Maritime Management Corporation[3] and
Division G.R. No. 155338 Sea Justice, S.A. (c) Desertion or abandonment;

DECISION On August 31, 1998, the Labor Arbiter dismissed (d) Drunkenness, especially where the laws of the
petitioner’s complaint, holding that his employment was host country prohibit intoxicating drinks;
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: validly terminated. He was found liable for drunkenness, a
ground for dismissal from the service under his contract of xxx
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed
employment.
under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as (g) Creating trouble at the worksite or in the vessel;
amended, assailing the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals On appeal, the NLRC, in its Decision, set aside the
dated March 21, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 57111. Appendix 2 of the POEA Standard Employment Contract for
Labor Arbiter’s judgment, thus:
Filipino migrant workers contains a list of offenses with
The facts of the case, as gleaned from the records, ACCORDINGLY, premises considered, the August 31, corresponding sanctions. This list includes drunkenness.
are: 1998 decision of the Labor Arbiter is hereby set aside and
Petitioner contends that Captain Kandylis has a
new one entered ordering respondent Prudential Shipping to
grudge against him, the reason why he entered in the
Master’s Report that he (petitioner) was involved in a fight We likewise cannot sustain petitioner’s claim that he of 1995, and penalized under Section 7 (b) of the same law,
among several members of the crew. was underpaid. In fact, Captain Kandylis increased his before the RTC of Quezon City.
monthly compensation from US$674.00 to US$1,164.00
There is nothing in the records of this case that supports which he received. While the contract as altered was not The informations read:
petitioner’s contention. On the contrary, the ship’s log of the approved by the POEA, however, the lack of such approval
M/V Commander states that he was drunk four (4) times and is inconsequential since the alteration redounded to In Criminal Case No. Q-00-94240
was not in his post once. petitioner’s benefit.
That sometime in the months of May to December, 1999 or
The Master’s Report[4] dated October 6, 1996 signed WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the thereabout, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, and
by Captain Kandylis contains these entries: “the illegal assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
consumption of alcoholic drinks by the Philippine crew put in 57111. named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually
danger the crew, the vessel, her cargo, the other nearby helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
sailing vessels as well as environment from eventual Costs against petitioner. and criminally recruit, enlist and promise overseas
destruction.” One of the crew members named therein was employment to the private complainants, namely, Lindy M.
petitioner. The Report shows that he was always drunk, SO ORDERED. Villamor, Dennis Cabangahan, Erencio C. Alaba, Victorino
disorderly and disobedient; and that the “Conformity for U. Caderao, Rommel B. Patolen, Joseph A. Demetria and
Sobriety” which every member of the crew was made to sign Louie A. Arca, as overseas seamen/seafarers, the said
was violated every day. accused thereby charging, exacting and collecting from the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, versus said private complainants cash bonds and/or performance
In Haverton Shipping Ltd v. National Labor Relations CAPT. FLORENCIO O. GASACAO, Appellant.2005 bonds in amounts ranging from P10,000.00 to P20,000.00
Commission,[5] we described the ship’s log as the official Nov 11 1st Division G.R. No. 168445 without any authority to do so and despite the fact that the
record of a ship’s voyage which its captain is obligated by same is prohibited by the POEA Rules and Regulations,
law to keep wherein, among others, he records the decisions DECISION which amount is greater than that specified in the schedule
he has adopted, a summary of the performance of the of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and
vessel, and other daily events. The entries made therein by YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Employment, and despite the payment of the said fees, the
a person performing a duty required by law are prima facie said accused failed to actually deploy the private
evidence of the facts stated therein. In Abacast Shipping and This is an appeal from the May 18, 2005 Decision[1] of the complainants without valid reasons as determined by the
Management Agency, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 00800 dismissing the Department of Labor and Employment and despite the
Commission,[6] we said that the logbook is “a respectable appeal of appellant, Florencio O. Gasacao and affirming the failure of deployment, the said accused failed to reimburse
record that can be relied upon” when the entries therein are March 5, 2001 Joint Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court the expenses incurred by the said private complainants in
presented in evidence. In Stolt-Nielsen Marine Services (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 218, finding appellant guilty connection with their documentation and processing for the
(Phils.), Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission,[7] beyond reasonable doubt of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment purpose of their supposed deployment.
citing Haverton and Abacast, we reiterated the evidentiary in Crim. Case No. Q-00-94240 and acquitting him of the
value of the ship’s log. Consequently, we find no reason charge in Crim. Case No. Q-00-94241. CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]
why we should not give credence to Captain Kandylis’
Master’s Report. The factual antecedents are as follows: In Criminal Case No. Q-00-94241

In the earlier case of Seahorse Maritime Corporation Appellant was the Crewing Manager of Great Eastern That sometime in the months of September to November
v. National Labor Relations Commission,[8] which likewise Shipping Agency Inc., a licensed local manning agency, 1999 or thereabout, in Quezon City, Metro Manila,
involved a seaman who was prone to intoxication and while his nephew and co-accused, Jose Gasacao, was the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
creating trouble aboard ship when drunk, we held that President. As the crewing manager, appellant’s duties Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating
serious misconduct in the form of drunkenness and included receiving job applications, interviewing the and mutually helping one another, did then and there
disorderly and violent behavior, habitual neglect of duty, and applicants and informing them of the agency’s requirement willfully, unlawfully and criminally recruit, enlist and promise
insubordination or willful disobedience to the lawful orders of of payment of performance or cash bond prior to overseas employment to the private complainants, namely,
his superior officer, are just causes for dismissal of an deployment. Melvin I. Yadao, Frederick Calambro and Andy Bandiola, as
employee under Article 282[9] of the Labor Code, and that overseas seamen/seafarers, the said accused thereby
where the dismissal is for cause, the erring seaman is On August 4, 2000, appellant and Jose Gasacao were charging, exacting and collecting from the said private
neither entitled to separation pay or to the salaries for the charged with Large Scale Illegal Recruitment defined under complainants cash bonds and/or performance bonds in
unexpired portion of his contract. Section 6, paragraphs (a), (l) and (m) of Republic Act (RA) amounts ranging from P10,000.00 to P20,000.00 without any
No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act authority to do so and despite the fact that the same is
prohibited by the POEA Rules and Regulations, which
amount is greater that that specified in the schedule of case, as well as this Court’s Resolution dated September 19, (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as
allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary Labor and 1995, we resolved on February 2, 2005 to transfer the case determined by the Department of Labor and Employment;
Employment, and despite the payment of said fees, the said to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and and
accused failed to actually deploy the private complainants disposition.[7]
without valid reasons as determined by the Department of (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the
Labor and Employment and despite the failure of On May 18, 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated the workers in connection with his documentation and
deployment, the said accused failed to reimburse the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the
expenses incurred by the said private complainants in deployment does not actually take place without the worker's
connection with their documentation and processing for the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is fault. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in
purpose of their supposed deployment. hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The appealed Joint large scale shall be considered as offense involving
Decision dated March 5, 2001 of the trial court in Criminal economic sabotage.
SO ORDERED.[4] Case No. Q-00-94240 is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate
Only the appellant was arrested while Jose Gasacao With costs against the accused-appellant. carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons
remained at large. When arraigned, appellant pleaded not conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed
guilty to the offense charged. Thereafter, trial on the merits SO ORDERED.[8] committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or
ensued. On March 5, 2001, the RTC of Quezon City, more persons individually or as a group.
Branch 218, rendered its Joint Decision convicting appellant Hence, this appeal.
of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment in Crim. Case No. Q-00- A license is a document issued by the Department of Labor
94240 and acquitting him of the charge in Crim. Case No. Q- The core issue for resolution is whether error attended the and Employment (DOLE) authorizing a person or entity to
00-94241. The dispositive portion of the joint decision reads: trial court’s findings, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, operate a private employment agency, while an authority is a
that appellant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the document issued by the DOLE authorizing a person or
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: crime of large scale illegal recruitment. association to engage in recruitment and placement
activities as a private recruitment entity. However, it appears
1. In Crim. Case No. Q-00-94240, the prosecution RA No. 8042 defines illegal recruitment as follows: that even licensees or holders of authority can be held liable
having established the guilt of the accused beyond for illegal recruitment should they commit any of the above-
reasonable doubt, the Court finds Florencio O. Gasacao II. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT enumerated acts.
GUILTY of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment punishable under
Section 7, (b) of R.A. 8042. He is sentenced to suffer life Sec. 6. DEFINITIONS. – For purposes of this Act, illegal Thus, it is inconsequential that appellant committed large
imprisonment and a fine of P500,000.00. He shall also recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing, enlisting, scale illegal recruitment while Great Eastern Shipping
indemnify Dennis C. Cabangahan in the amount of contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, procuring workers Agency, Inc. was holding a valid authority. We thus find that
P8,750.00; Lindy M. Villamor for P20,000.00; Victorino U. and includes referring, contract services, promising or the court below committed no reversible error in not
Caderao for P20,000.00; Rommel B. Patolen for P20,000.00; advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, appreciating that the manning agency was a holder of a valid
and Erencio C. Alaba for P20,000.00. Complainants Louie A. when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority when appellant recruited the private complainants.
Arca and Joseph A. Demetria did not testify. authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential
Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor There is no merit in appellant’s contention that he could not
2. In Crim. Case No. Q-00-94241, complainants Melvin Code of the Philippines: Provided, that such non-licensee or be held liable for illegal recruitment since he was a mere
I. Yadao, Frederick Calambro and Andy Bandiola did not non-holder who, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employee of the manning agency, pursuant to Section 6 of
testify. Moreover, the Court believes all these complainants employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed RA No. 8042 which provides:
should have been grouped in just one (1) information. so engaged. It shall likewise include the following acts,
Hence, for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the whether committed by any persons, whether a non-licensee, The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the
accused beyond reasonable doubt, the Court finds Florencio non-holder, licensee or holder of authority. principals, accomplices and accessories. In case of juridical
O. Gasacao NOT GUILTY of the offense charged. persons, the officers having control, management or
(a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any direction of their business shall be liable.
SO ORDERED.[5] amount greater than the specified in the schedule of
allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Contrary to appellant’s claim, he is not a mere employee of
Conformably with our pronouncement in People v. Mateo,[6] Employment, or to make a worker pay any amount greater the manning agency but the crewing manager. As such, he
which modified pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court than that actually received by him as a loan or advance; receives job applications, interviews applicants and informs
insofar as they provide for direct appeals from the RTC to them of the agency’s requirement of payment of
the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed is .... performance or cash bond prior to the applicant’s
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, as in this
deployment. As the crewing manager, he was at the fast-tracked if he pays the cash bond. On August 10, 1999, Even assuming that appellant was a mere employee, such
forefront of the company’s recruitment activities. he gave P20,000.00 to appellant who issued a receipt. fact is not a shield against his conviction for large scale
When the promised employment failed to materialize, the illegal recruitment. In the case of People v. Cabais,[11] we
Private complainant Lindy Villamor testified that it was appellant told Cadirao to wait for another dredging vessel. In have held that an employee of a company or corporation
appellant who informed him that if he will give a cash bond of December 1999, he found out that appellant was no longer engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as
P20,000.00, he will be included in the first batch of connected with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. so he principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that he
applicants to be deployed. Notwithstanding the payment of went to his residence and demanded the return of his actively and consciously participated in the recruitment
the cash bond as evidenced by a receipt dated December money. Appellant however refused to return the amount of process. We further stated that:
15, 1999 and issued by the appellant, Villamor was not the cash bond.
deployed overseas. He further testified that when he found In this case, evidence showed that accused-appellant was
out that appellant was no longer connected with Great On the other hand, Rommel B. Patolen testified that he the one who informed complainant of job prospects in Korea
Eastern Shipping Agency Inc., he confronted Jose Gasacao applied with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. as an and the requirements for deployment. She also received
and showed to him a photocopy of the receipt. Jose ordinary seaman in May 1999. After complying with the money from them as placement fees. All of the complainants
Gasacao gave him the address of the appellant but he failed requirements, appellant told him to report to the agency testified that they personally met the accused-appellant and
to recover the amount from the latter. thrice a week. From May to December 1999, Patolen transacted with her regarding the overseas job placement
reported to the agency as instructed. On December 11, offers. Complainants parted with their money, evidenced by
Another private complainant, Erencio C. Alaba testified that 1999, he gave P20,000.00 to appellant who acknowledged receipts signed by accused Cabais and accused Forneas.
he applied as a seaman with Great Eastern Shipping Agency its receipt. Patolen further testified that he paid the cash Thus, accused-appellant actively participated in the
Inc. in May 1999 and submitted all the requirements to bond because appellant told him that his prospective recruitment of the complainants.[12]
appellant. The latter told Alaba that after payment of a cash employer will arrive in December 1999 from Saudi Arabia
bond, he will be deployed within three months. On June 3, with a vessel to accommodate him. He was further advised Clearly, the acts of appellant vis-à-vis the private
1999, Alaba gave P10,000.00 to the appellant as evidenced that he could leave within three months if he paid the cash complainants, either as the crewing manager of Great
by a cash voucher which was approved and signed by the bond. However, Patolen was never deployed and when he Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. or as a mere employee of the
appellant in the presence of Alaba. found out that appellant was no longer connected with Great same, constitute acts of large scale illegal recruitment which
Eastern Shipping Agency Inc., he went to the house of the should not be countenanced.
Afterwards, appellant asked Alaba to have his medical latter and informed him that he was withdrawing his
examination. He was also informed that those who had application. Appellant asked him to wait for his new agency, We find no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial
completed paying the P20,000.00 cash bond will have Ocean Grandeur, which has no license yet. court that appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
priority in deployment. Thus, Alaba gave another large scale illegal recruitment. It was established that he
P10,000.00 to appellant on August 2, 1999 and was again The foregoing testimonies of the private complainants clearly promised overseas employment to five applicants, herein
informed that he will be deployed in a dredging or supply established that appellant is not a mere employee of Great private complainants. He interviewed and required them to
boat within three months from August 1999. Despite Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. As the crewing manager, it complete and submit documents purportedly needed for their
appellant’s representations, Alaba was never deployed and was appellant who made representations with the private employment. Although he informed them that it is optional,
was also unable to recover the amount of the cash bond that complainants that he can secure overseas employment for he collected cash bonds and promised their deployment
he paid. them upon payment of the cash bond. notwithstanding the proscription against its collection under
Section 60 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations
Private complainant Dennis Cabangahan testified that he It is well settled that to prove illegal recruitment, it must be Implementing R.A. No. 8042[13] which state that:
applied as a seaman with Great Eastern Shipping Agency shown that appellant gave complainants the distinct
Inc. on July 27, 1999 and paid the cash bond of P19,000.00 impression that he had the power or ability to send SEC. 60. Prohibition on Bonds and Deposits. – In no case
as evidenced by a receipt issued by appellant. The latter complainants abroad for work such that the latter were shall an employment agency require any bond or cash
informed him that he will be deployed abroad within three convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. deposit from the worker to guarantee performance under
months. As what had happened to the other complainants, [10] Appellant’s act of promising the private complainants the contract or his/her repatriation.
Cabangahan was never deployed overseas nor did he that they will be deployed abroad within three months after
recover his money. they have paid the cash bond clearly shows that he is We find as flimsy and self serving appellant’s assertion that
engaged in illegal recruitment. he was unaware of the prohibition against the collection of
Victoriano Cadirao[9] also testified that on August 1, 1999, bonds or cash deposits from applicants. It is an established
he applied with the manning agency for the position of mess The trial court’s appreciation of the complainants’ dictum that ignorance of the law excuses no one from
man. He submitted his application to appellant who told him testimonies deserves the highest respect since it was in a compliance therewith.[14] The defense of good faith is
to come back when he has the money to cover the cash better position to asses their credibility. neither available.
bond of P20,000.00. Appellant told him that the payment of
the cash bond is optional, but that his deployment will be
It is also undisputed that appellant failed to deploy the That sometime during the period of March 1997 to Sometime in December 1996, Renato Alden went
private complainants without any valid reason, this November, 1997 in the City of Naga, Philippines, and within to Loran to apply for a job as hotel worker for Saipan. He
notwithstanding his promise to them that those who can pay the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named was interviewed by appellant, who required Alden to submit
the cash bond will be deployed within three months from accused, being the General Manager and Operations an NBI clearance and medical certificate and to pay the
payment of the same. Such failure to deploy constitutes a Manager of LORAN INTERNATIONAL OVERSEAS placement fee. Alden paid the amount of P31,000.00. The
violation of Section 6 (l) of RA No. 8042. Worse, when it RECRUITMENT CO., LTD., with office at Concepcion additional amount of P4,000.00 was to be paid prior to his
became clear that appellant cannot deploy the private Grande, Naga City, conspiring, confederating together and departure to Saipan (pp. 5-6, TSN, November 17, 1998).
complainants without their fault, he failed to return the mutually helping each other, representing themselves to Appellant promised Alden that he would leave within a
amount of the cash bond paid by them. have the capacity to contract, enlist, hire and transport period of three to four months. After one year of waiting
Filipino workers for employment abroad, did then and there Alden was not able to leave. Alden filed a complaint with the
Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if willfully, unlawfully and criminally, for a fee, recruit and NBI when he was not able to recover the amount and could
committed against three or more persons individually or as a promise employment/job placement to the herein no longer talk with appellant (p. 6, TSN, November 17,
group. In this case, five complainants testified against complaining witnesses RENATO ALDEN, OLIVER 1998).
appellant’s acts of illegal recruitment, thereby rendering his SARMIENTO, FE ZABALLA, TEOFILA LUALHATI, PILIPINA
acts tantamount to economic sabotage. Under Section 7 (b) MENDOZA and KERWIN DONACAO, but failed to actually On April 18, 1997, Teofila Lualhati applied for
of RA No. 8042, the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine deploy them without valid reason, as well as to reimburse employment as hotel worker for Saipan with Loran (pp. 1-3,
of not less than P500,000.00 nor more than P1,000.000.00 their documentation, placement and processing expenses 10, TSN, November 19, 1998). Appellant required her to
shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic for purposes of deployment despite their repeated demands submit an NBI clearance and medical certificate and to pay
sabotage. for the return of the same, to their damage and prejudice in the processing fee in the amount of P35,000.00 so she could
the amounts as may be proven in court. leave immediately. She paid the amount of P35,000.00 to
Verily, the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly Loran's secretary in the presence of appellant. She was
found appellant guilty beyond reasonable of large scale CONTRARY TO LAW.[4] promised that within 120 days or 4 months she would be
illegal recruitment. able to leave (pp. 11-13, TSN, November 19, 1998). Despite
Only appellant was brought to the jurisdiction of repeated follow-ups, Lualhati was unable to work in Saipan.
WHEREFORE, the May 18, 2005 Decision of the Court of the trial court since Lorna G. Orciga was then and still is at She demanded the refund of the processing fee. When the
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 00800 is AFFIRMED. large. Arraigned with the assistance of counsel, appellant amount was not returned to her, she filed a complaint with
entered a plea of “NOT GUILTY” to the crime charged. the NBI (pp. 14-15, TSN, November 19, 1998).
Thereafter, trial of the case ensued.
Sometime in April 1998, Filipina Mendoza went to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Of the six complainants, the prosecution was able Loran to apply for employment as hotel worker (p. 4, TSN,
versus Antonio Nogra, Accused-Appellant. 2008 to present five of them, namely: Renato Alden, Fe Zaballa, July 12, 1999). She paid the amount of P35,000.00 as
Aug 29 3rd Division G.R. No. 170834 Teofila Lualhati, Filipina Mendoza and Kerwin Donacao. placement fee. When she was not able to work abroad, she
Anaielyn Sarmiento, wife of complainant Oliver Sarmiento, went to Loran and sought the return of P35,000.00 from
DECISION also testified for the prosecution. appellant (p. 7, TSN, January 21, 1999).

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: The facts, as established by the prosecution, are Sometime in October 1997, Kerwin Donacao went
aptly summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General to Loran to apply for employment as purchaser in Saipan (p.
Before the Court is an appeal from the Decision[1] (OSG), as follows: 4, TSN, February 10, 1999). He was required to submit NBI
dated August 31, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- clearance, police clearance, previous employment certificate
G.R. C.R. No. 00244 affirming the Judgment of the Regional Appellant held office at Loran International and his passport. He paid the placement fee of P35,000.00
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 19, Naga City in Criminal Case Overseas Recruitment Co., (Loran) in Concepcion Grande, (pp.4-5, TSN, February 10, 1999). After paying the amount,
No. 98-7182, convicting Antonio Nogra (appellant) of large Naga City (p. 4, TSN, October 19, 1998). A nameplate on he was told to wait for two to three months. When he was
scale illegal recruitment under Section 6(m) in relation to his table prominently displayed his name and position as not able to leave for Saipan, he demanded the return of the
Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 8042 (R.A. No. 8042),[2] operations manager (p. 11, TSN, November 17, 1998; p. 4, placement fee, which was not refunded (pp. 6-7, TSN,
otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas TSN, January 12, 1999; p. 21, TSN, November 19, 1998). February 10, 1999).
Filipinos Act of 1995.”[3] The license of Loran also indicated appellant as the
operations manager (p. 5, TSN, February 10, 1999). The During the first week of November 1997, Annelyn
The inculpatory portion of the Information charging one POEA files also reflect his position as operations manager of Sarmiento and her husband, Oliver Sarmiento, applied for
Lorna G. Orciga and appellant with large scale illegal Loran (Exhibit L to L-4, pp. 5-9, TSN, November 19, 1998). overseas employment. For the application of Oliver
recruitment reads as follows: Sarmiento, they submitted his medical certificate and
certification of previous employment. They were also made
to pay the amount of P27,000.00 as processing fee. Oliver She also controlled the financial matters and assessment A Notice of Appeal[15] having been timely filed by
Sarmiento was promised that within 1 month, he would be fees of the agency in Naga City (TSN, September 20, 2000, appellant, the CA forwarded the records of the case to this
able to leave. Initially, Oliver Sarmiento was told that pp. 8-9). The placement and processing fees collected by Court for further review.
allegedly his visa was yet to be obtained. When he was not the agency in Naga City were all deposited in the bank
able to leave and what he paid was not refunded, he filed a account of Lorna Orciga and not a single centavo went to the In his Brief, appellant assigns as errors the
complaint with the NBI (pp. 4-6, TSN, April 23, 1999). benefit of [appellant] Nogra (TSN, January 10, 2000, pp. 14- following:
22).[6]
Sometime in May 1997, Fe Zaballa applied for I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE
overseas employment in Saipan with Loran (p. 4, TSN, May On March 26, 2003, the RTC rendered ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS A MERE EMPLOYEE OF
21, 1999). She was required to submit her medical Judgment[7] finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable THE RECRUITMENT AGENCY DESPITE HIS
certificate, original copy of her birth certificate, NBI clearance doubt of the crime charged. The fallo of the decision reads: DESIGNATION AS ITS OPERATIONS MANAGER.
and police clearance. She was also required to pay the
amount of P35,000.00 as placement fee. When she could WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE
not be deployed, she sought to recover the amount she paid, ANTONIO NOGRA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE OFFENSE-CHARGED
which was not returned (pp. 7-8, TSN, May 2, 1999).[5] crime of Illegal Recruitment Committed in Large Scale DESPITE THE FACT THAT UNDER THE LAW, HE WAS
defined under Sections 6(m) and 7(b) of RA 8042, otherwise NOT CRIMINALY LIABLE FOR HIS AGENCY'S
On the other hand, appellant presented the known as The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act TRANSACTIONS.[16]
following evidence: of 1995 and, accordingly, hereby imposes upon him the
penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of Five hundred Appellant argues that the agency was under the
The defense presented [appellant] Antonio Nogra thousand pesos (P500,000.00). management and control of Orciga, and that he was a mere
and the agency's secretary and cashier, Maritess Mesina. employee; that he could not be held personally liable for
SO ORDERED.[8] illegal recruitment in the absence of any showing that he was
From their testimonies it was established that validly issued special authority to recruit workers, which was
LORAN INTERNATIONAL OVERSEAS RECRUITMENT On April 10, 2003, appellant filed a Notice of approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment
CO., LTD., (LORAN, for brevity) was owned by accused Appeal.[9] The RTC ordered the transmittal of the entire Administration (POEA); that his non-flight is indicative of his
Lorna Orciga and Japanese national Kataru Tanaka (TSN, records of the case to this Court. innocence.
September 30, 2000, p. 7). Sometime in July 1994,
[appellant] Antonio Nogra read from outside the agency's Conformably to the ruling in People v. Mateo,[10] Appellee, through the OSG, counters that
main office at Libertad, Mandaluyong City that it was in need the case was referred to the CA for intermediate review.[11] appellant is not a mere clerk or secretary of Loran, but its
of a liaison officer. He applied for the position. The part- Operations Manager who directly participated in the
owner and co-accused, Lorna Orciga, hired him instead as On August 31, 2005, the CA rendered a recruitment scheme by promising private complainants work
Operations Manager as the agency was then still in the Decision[12] affirming the decision of the RTC. The CA held abroad, but failed to deploy them and refused to reimburse
process of completing the list of personnel to be submitted to that being an employee is not a valid defense since the applicants' placement fees when demanded.
the POEA. (TSN, January 31, 2001, p. 5). employees who have knowledge and active participation in
the recruitment activities may be criminally liable for illegal The appeal fails. The CA did not commit any error
[Appellant] Nogra started working with LORAN in recruitment activities, based upon this Court's ruling in in affirming the decision of the RTC.
October 1994. In 1995, he was transferred to Naga City People v. Chowdury[13] and People v. Corpuz;[14] that
when the agency opened a branch office thereat. Although appellant had knowledge of and active participation in the R.A. No. 8042 broadened the concept of illegal
he was designated as the Operations Manager, [appellant] recruitment activities since all the prosecution witnesses recruitment under the
Nogra was a mere employee of the agency. He was pinpointed appellant as the one whom they initially
receiving a monthly salary of P5,000.00 and additional approached regarding their plans of working overseas and Labor Code[17] and provided stiffer penalties,
P2,000.00 monthly meal allowance. He was in-charge of the he was the one who told them about the fees they had to especially those that constitute economic sabotage, i.e.,
advertisement of the company. He also drove for the pay, as well as the papers that they had to submit; that the Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale and Illegal Recruitment
company. He fetched from the airport the agency's visitors mere fact that appellant was not issued special authority to Committed by a Syndicate.
and guests and drove them to hotels and other places. recruit does not exculpate him from any liability but rather
(TSN, May 3, 2000, pp. 2-9). strongly suggests his guilt; that appellant's invocation of non- Section 6 of R.A. No. 8042 defined when
flight cannot be weighed in his favor since there is no recruitment is illegal:
Although part-owner Lorna Orciga was stationed established rule that non-flight is, in every instance, an
in Manila, she, however, actually remained in control of the indication of innocence. SEC. 6. Definition. – For purposes of this Act,
branch office in Naga City. She conducted the final interview illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing,
of the applicants and transacted with the foreign employers. enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or
procuring workers and includes referring, contract services, valid reason, as determined by the Department of Labor and such as NBI clearance, police clearance, medical certificate,
promising or advertising for employment abroad, whether for Employment (DOLE). Section 6 (m) involves the failure to previous employment certificate and the payment of
profit or not, when undertaken by a non-licensee or non- reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection placement fee. He was also responsible for the radio
holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of with his documentation and processing for purposes of advertisements and leaflets, which enticed complaining
Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known deployment, in cases in which the deployment does not witnesses to apply for employment with the agency. Clearly,
as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided, That any actually take place without the worker’s fault. as Operations Manager, he was in the forefront of the
such non-licensee or non-holder who, in any manner, offers recruitment activities.
or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more A thorough scrutiny of the prosecution's evidence
persons shall be deemed so engaged. It shall likewise reveals that it failed to prove appellant's liability under The defense of being a mere employee is not a
include the following acts, whether committed by any person, Section 6 (l) of R.A. No. 8042. The law requires not only that shield against his conviction for large scale illegal
whether a non-licensee, non-holder, licensee or holder of the failure to deploy be without valid reason “as determined recruitment. In People v. Gasacao[18] and People v.
authority: by the Department of Labor and Employment.” The law Sagayaga,[19] the Court reiterated the ruling in People v.
envisions that there be independent evidence from the Cabais,[20] People v. Chowdury[21] and People v.
xxxx DOLE to establish the reason for non-deployment, such as Corpuz[22] that an employee of a company or corporation
the absence of a proper job order. No document from the engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal
(l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as DOLE was presented in the present case to establish the by direct participation, together with its employer, if it is
determined by the Department of Labor and Employment; reason for the accused's failure to actually deploy private shown that he actively and consciously participated in the
and complainants. Thus, appellant cannot be held liable under recruitment process.
Section 6 (l) of R.A. No. 8042.
(m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in In the present case, it was clearly established that
connection with his documentation and processing for As to Section 6 (m) of R.A. No. 8042, the appellant dealt directly with the private complainants. He
purposes of deployment, in cases where the deployment prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that interviewed and informed them of the documentary
does not actually take place without the worker's fault. Illegal private complainants made payments to Loran, and requirements and placement fee. He promised deployment
recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale appellant failed to reimburse the amounts paid by private within a three or four month-period upon payment of the fee,
shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage. complainants when they were not deployed. The prosecution but failed to deploy them and to reimburse, upon demand,
presented the receipts issued by Loran to private the placement fees paid.
Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a complainants evidencing payment of placement fees ranging
syndicate carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons from P27,000.00 to P35,000.00. The Court is not persuaded by appellant's
conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed argument that his non-flight is indicative of his innocence.
committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or Appellant does not dispute that private Unlike the flight of an accused, which is competent evidence
more persons individually or as a group. complainants were not deployed for overseas work, and that against him tending to establish his guilt, non-flight is simply
the placement fees they paid were not returned to them inaction, which may be due to several factors. It may not be
The persons criminally liable for the above despite demand. However, he seeks to exculpate himself on construed as an indication of innocence.[23]
offenses are the principals, accomplices, and accessories. In the ground that he is a mere employee of Loran.
case of juridical persons, the officers having control, Of marked relevance is the absence of any
management or direction of their business shall be liable. The Court is unswayed by appellant's contention. showing that the private complainants had any ill motive
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied) against appellant other than to bring him to the bar of justice
The penultimate paragraph of Section 6 of R.A. to answer for the crime of illegal recruitment. Besides, for
In the present case, evidence for the prosecution No. 8042 explicitly states that those criminally liable are the strangers to conspire and accuse another stranger of a most
showed that Loran “principals, accomplices, and accessories. In case of juridical serious crime just to mollify their hurt feelings would certainly
persons, the officers having control, management or be against human nature and experience.[24] Where there
International Overseas Recruitment Co., Ltd. is a direction of their business shall be liable.” Contrary to is nothing to show that the witnesses for the prosecution
duly licensed recruitment agency with authority to establish a appellant's claim, the testimonies of the complaining were actuated by improper motive, their positive and
branch office. However, under R.A. No. 8042, even a witnesses and the documentary evidence for the prosecution categorical declarations on the witness stand under the
licensee or holder of authority can be held liable for illegal clearly established that he was not a mere employee of solemnity of an oath deserve full faith and credence.[25]
recruitment, should he commit or omit to do any of the acts Loran, but its Operations Manager. The license of Loran,
enumerated in Section 6. the files of the POEA and the nameplate prominently It is a settled rule that factual findings of the trial
displayed on his office desk reflected his position as courts, including their assessment of the witnesses’
Appellant was charged with illegal recruitment in Operations Manager. As such, he received private credibility, are entitled to great weight and respect by the
large scale under Section 6 (l) and (m) of R.A. No. 8042. complainants' job applications; and interviewed and informed Supreme Court, particularly when the CA affirmed such
Section 6 (l) refers to the failure to actually deploy without them of the agency’s requirements prior to their deployment, findings.[26] After all, the trial court is in the best position to
determine the value and weight of the testimonies of estafa under paragraph 2(a), Article 315 of the Revised Criminal Case No. 00-180519:
witnesses.[27] The absence of any showing that the trial Penal Code.
court plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value That on or about October 1998, and thereafter in Manila,
that, if considered, might affect the result of the case, or that On April 27, 1999, three separate complaint-affidavits were Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
its assessment was arbitrary, impels the Court to defer to the filed with the Philippine Overseas Employment Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
trial court’s determination according credibility to the Administration (POEA) charging Lourdes Lo (Lo) and confederating with each other, did then and there willfully,
prosecution evidence. accused-appellants Grace Calimon (Calimon) and Aida unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment
Comila (Comila) with illegal recruitment and estafa. The to FE MAGNAYE in Italy as factory worker for a total
Under the last paragraph of Section 6 of R.A. No. complaints were initiated by Fe Magnaye,[3] Lucila consideration of fifty five thousand pesos (P55,000.00) as
8042, illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense Agramon,[4] and Daisy Devanadera.[5] On May 6, 1999, the placement and processing fees, knowing that they have no
involving economic sabotage if committed in large scale, viz, POEA, referred the matter to the Department of Justice capacity whatsoever and with no intention to fulfill their
committed against three or more persons individually or as a (DOJ) and submitted evidence before it.[6] promise, but merely as a pretext, scheme or excuse to get or
group. In the present case, five complainants testified exact money from the said complainant as they in fact
against appellant’s acts of illegal recruitment, thereby After several months, accused-appellants were apprehended collected and received the amount of P55,000.00 from said
rendering his acts tantamount to economic sabotage. Under for their involvement in other cases of illegal recruitment and FE MAGNAYE to her damage, loss and prejudice for the
Section 7 (b) of R.A. No. 8042, the penalty of life estafa. Private complainants Magnaye, Agramon and aforesaid amount.
imprisonment and a fine of not less than P500,000.00 nor Devanadera were summoned to a preliminary investigation
more than P1,000.000.00 shall be imposed if illegal at the DOJ. CONTRARY TO LAW.
recruitment constitutes economic sabotage.
On October 8, 1999, the DOJ issued a Resolution[7] Criminal Case No. 00-180520:
Thus, the RTC and the CA correctly found recommending the filing of the corresponding Information
appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of large scale against Lo and the accused-appellants. Accordingly, on That on or about September 1998, and thereafter in Manila,
illegal recruitment. December 28, 1999, an Information[8] was filed with the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
RTC, charging Lo and accused-appellants with illegal Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The recruitment in large scale defined and penalized under confederating with each other, did then and there willfully,
Decision dated August 31, 2995 of the Court of Appeals Sections 6 and 7, respectively, of Republic Act No. 8042,[9] unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment
affirming the conviction of appellant Antonio Nogra for large docketed as Criminal Case No. 00-179745. The relevant to LUCILA C. AGRAMON in Italy as factory worker for a total
scale illegal recruitment under Sections 6 (m) and 7 (b) of portion of the Information follows: consideration of twenty seven thousand and five hundred
Republic Act No. 8042 is AFFIRMED. pesos (P27,500.00) as placement and processing fees,
Criminal Case No. 00179745: knowing that they have no capacity whatsoever and with no
SO ORDERED. intention to fulfill their promise, but merely as a pretext,
That on or about September 1998, and thereafter in Manila, scheme or excuse to get or exact money from the said
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the complainant as they in fact collected and received the
above-named accused, did then and there willfully, amount of P27,500.00 from said LUCILA C. AGRAMON to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, unlawfully and feloniously recruit the herein complainants, her damage, loss and prejudice for the aforesaid amount.
versus LOURDES LO, Accused. GRACE CALIMON FE MAGNAYE, LUCILA AGRAMON and DAISY
AND AIDA COMILA, Accused-Appellants.2009 Jan DEVANADERA to Italy as factory workers for the CONTRARY TO LAW.
consideration thereof, they were required to pay placement
29 1st Division G.R. No. 175229
fees, the complainants delivered and paid the total amount Criminal Case No. 00-180521:
(P110,000.00) Philippine Currency for the consideration
DECISION
thereof, without accused having secured the necessary That on or about September 1998, and thereafter in Manila,
license and authority from the Department of Labor and Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Employment to recruit and deploy workers to Italy. Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
confederating with each other, did then and there willfully,
For our consideration is an appeal from the Decision[1]
CONTRARY TO LAW. unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment
dated January 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-
to DAISY DEVANADERA alias ‘Renata P. Luciano’ in Italy
G.R. CR No. 00611. The challenged decision amended the
Three separate Informations[10] for estafa arising from the as factory worker for a total consideration of twenty seven
May 21, 2001 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court,
same acts penalized under paragraph 2(a), Article 315 of the thousand five hundred pesos (P27,500.00) as placement
Manila, Branch 35 (RTC), in Criminal Case No. 00-179745
Revised Penal Code were also filed against the three, and processing fees, knowing that they have no capacity
for illegal recruitment in large scale under Section 6 of
docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 00-180519, 00-180520, and whatsoever and with no intention to fulfill their promise, but
Republic Act No. 8042, and in Criminal Case Nos. 00-
00-180521, thus: merely as a pretext, scheme or excuse to get or exact
180519, 00-180520 and 00-180521, all for the crime of
money from the said complainant as they in fact collected At one time, in the course of following up the status of her P800,000.00; and (2) pronouncing accused AIDA COMILA
and received the amount of P27,500.00 from said DAISY overseas employment application, Calimon introduced guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple illegal recruitment
DEVANADERA alias ‘Renata P Luciano’ to her damage, loss complainant Devanadera to accused-appellant Comila who and sentencing said accused to imprisonment from eight (8)
and prejudice for the aforesaid amount. showed her file and informed her of the need to secure a to ten (10) years, and to pay a fine of P300,000.00. With
visa with the Italian Embassy. Calimon then asked for more costs against the two accused in proportionate shares;
CONTRARY TO LAW. money to secure the visa, but Devanadera refused to pay.
[24] B. In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-180519 and 00-180521,
Upon arraignment, herein accused-appellants pleaded “not pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond
guilty” to the crimes charged. Accused Lo, however, has not Private complainant Agramon’s follow ups with Calimon reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa defined under
yet been apprehended and has remained at large. Trial on were just met by repeated assurance that she will be paragraph 2 (a) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code,
the merits ensued thereafter. deployed immediately once her papers are completely and (1) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No. 00-
processed.[25] The other complainants received similar 180519 to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and
The prosecution presented as witnesses the three private treatment. two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to nine
complainants, as well as Corazon Cristobal,[11] an (9) years of prision mayor as maximum; and (2) sentencing
employee of the POEA, and PO2 Edward Catalan.[12] A Finally, in January 1999, Calimon gave private complainants said accused in Criminal Case No. 00-180521, to the
summary of facts, culled from their collective testimonies, their supposed individual employment contracts as factory indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of
follows: workers in Italy. However, the contracts did not indicate an prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8)
employer.[26] The three proceeded to the POEA to verify months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum;
Sometime in 1998, Lo persuaded private complainants to the status of their contract where they discovered that while and to pay the costs for each case.
apply for a job in Italy through the services of accused- AISC was a licensed recruitment agency, Lo and accused-
appellants.[13] Lo introduced them to accused-appellant appellants Calimon and Comila were not among its C. In Criminal Case No. 00-180520, pronouncing accused
Calimon who represented herself as a sub-agent of Axil registered employees.[27] GRACE CALIMON and AIDA COMILA guilty beyond
International Services and Consultancy (AISC), a legitimate reasonable doubt of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a)
recruitment agency.[14] Calimon showed a job order of The defense presented accused-appellants as witnesses. Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, and sentencing each
factory workers purportedly issued by an Italian firm.[15] of the said accused to the indeterminate penalty of six (6)
Devanadera called up AISC to verify Calimon’s Accused-appellant Calimon denied the accusations against months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to two (2) years,
representation. The person who answered the phone readily her. She claimed that she was also an applicant for eleven (11) months and ten (10) days of prision correccional,
confirmed accused-appellant Calimon’s claim.[16] overseas job placement and that she never promised any as maximum, and to pay the costs in equal shares.
work abroad to private complainants.[28] She averred that it
Thus, when accused Calimon asked P10,000.00 from each was Lo who recruited her and private complainants.[29] She In the service of her (accused Aida Comila) sentence in
of the private complainants to cover expenses for medical likewise denied having received any money from private Criminal Case No. 00-179745, and the respective sentences
examination and processing fees for travel documents, both complainants. She maintained that it was accused-appellant of both accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 00-180519, 00-
Devanadera and Agramon readily parted with their money, Comila who received the money from her amounting to 180520 and 00-180521, inclusive, the period during which
as evidenced by receipts[17] duly signed by Calimon.[18] P16,000.00 as payment for her placement fee.[30] they have been under preventive imprisonment should be
They likewise gave their respective passports, birth credited in their favor provided that they agreed voluntarily in
certificates, NBI clearances, resumes and other documents. Accused-appellant Comila, on the other hand, denied having writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon
[19] Thereafter, Calimon brought them to St. Martin’s Clinic known or seen Lo.[31] However, she maintained that it was convicted prisoners, otherwise, they should be credited with
for medical examination.[20] accused Lo who recruited and received money from private four-fifths only of the time they have been under preventive
complainants.[32] She averred she could not have recruited imprisonment.
On October 24, 1998, upon the urging of Lo, private private complainants because she gave birth in Baguio in
complainant Magnaye paid P20,000.00 to Calimon for the October 1998.[33] In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745, 00-180519 and 00-
latter’s recruitment services.[21] 180521, accused Grace Calimon is ordered to pay to
On May 21, 2001, the RTC rendered a Decision convicting complainants Fe Magnaye and Daisy Devanadera the sums
On January 15, 1999, private complainants were subjected the appellants of the crimes charged, thus: of P35,000.00 and P17,500.00, respectively, as reparations
to another medical examination at St. Camillus Clinic, Pasig for the damages she caused them.
City, because according to Calimon the medical “WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:
examinations at St. Martin’s Clinic were not honored by the In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745 and 00-180520, accused
Italian Embassy. On the same date, Magnaye gave an A. In Criminal Case No. 00-179745, (1) pronouncing Grace Calimon and accused Aida Comila are ordered, jointly
additional amount of P15,000.00[22] to Calimon. While accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt and severally, to pay offended party Lucila C. Agramon the
Devanadera and Agramon gave her an additional amount of of illegal recruitment in large scale and sentencing said sum of P10,000.00, as reparation for the damages she
P7,500.00[23] each. accused to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of caused her.
SO ORDERED.” 180520; and 00-180521, is hereby AMENDED to read as In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745 and 00-180519, accused
follows: Grace Calimon is ordered to pay to complainant Fe
On appeal, the CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC but with Magnaye the sum of P35,000.00, as reparations for the
modifications. The CA’s reasoning for the modification and WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered: damages she caused her.
the dispositive portion of the CA Decision follow:
A. In Criminal Case No. 00-179745, (1) pronouncing
Summing up, in Criminal Case No. 00-179745, the RTC accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt
correctly convicted Calimon of Illegal Recruitment in Large of illegal recruitment in large scale and sentencing said In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745 and 00-180521, accused
Scale, which is punishable by the maximum penalty of life accused to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Grace Calimon is ordered to pay jointly and severally with
imprisonment and a fine of One Million Pesos P1,000,000.00; and (2) pronouncing accused AIDA COMILA Aida Comila to complainant Daisy Devanadera the sum of
(P1,000,000.00) when the offender is a non-licensee or non- guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple illegal recruitment P17,500.00, as reparation for the damages she caused her.
holder of authority to recruit and deploy workers abroad, as and sentencing said accused to imprisonment from eight (8)
in the instant case (Sec. 7, Republic Act No. 8042). Hence, to ten (10) years, and to pay a fine of P300,000.00. With In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745 and 00-180520, accused
the penalty imposed by the RTC must be modified to life costs against the two accused in proportionate shares; Grace Calimon and accused Aida Comila are ordered, jointly
imprisonment and a fine of One Million Pesos and severally, to pay offended party Lucila C. Agramon the
(P1,000,000.00). B. In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-180519 and 00-180521, sum of P10,000.00, as reparation for the damages they
pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond caused her.
Comila was likewise correctly convicted by the RTC of the reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa defined under
crime of simple Illegal Recruitment. The sentence paragraph 2 (a) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, SO ORDERED.”
pronounced by the RTC, was proper. and (1) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No. 00-
180519 to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and Hence, the present appeal based on the following lone
In Criminal Case No. 00-180519, Grace Calimon was two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to nine assignment of error:
properly found guilty of Estafa through false pretenses. (9) years of prision mayor as maximum; and (2) sentencing
Since the amount defrauded from Fe Magnaye was said accused in Criminal Case No. 00-180521, to the THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE
P35,000.00, the penalty imposed by the RTC was proper. indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of ACCUSED-APPELLANT GRACE CALIMON FOR ILLEGAL
prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) RECRUITMENT IN LARGE SCALE AND THREE (3)
In Criminal Case No. 00-180520, since the amount months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum; COUNTS OF ESTAFA AND AIDA COMILA FOR SIMPLE
defrauded from Lucila Agramon is P17,500.00, the correct and to pay the costs for each case. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT AND ONE (1) COUNT OF
penalty that should be imposed upon Calimon and Comila, in ESTAFA DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION
the absence of any modifying circumstances, should be the C. In Criminal Case No. 00-180520, pronouncing accused TO PROVE THEIR GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of GRACE CALIMON and AIDA COMILA guilty beyond DOUBT.
prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) reasonable doubt of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a)
months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum. Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, and sentencing each In their brief[34], accused-appellants contend that the
of the said accused to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) prosecution witnesses established that only Lo recruited
In Criminal Case No. 00-180521, the amount involved is years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as private complainants and promised to deploy them abroad.
P17,500.00. There being no modifying circumstances, the minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) months and Twenty (20) They deny having collected placement fees, but ironically
penalty imposed by the trial court on Calimon is correct. days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the costs in admitted that the amount collected was for medical
However, it has been duly proven that Comila was a equal shares. examination, visa and passport fees. Further, they insist that
conspirator to the crime subject of this case. In view of her they are not guilty of estafa through false pretenses because
acquittal by the RTC, this matter can no longer be In the service of her (accused Aida Comila) sentence in they did not commit any act of deceit as it was only accused
questioned in this appeal on the ground of double jeopardy. Criminal Case No. 00-179745, and the respective sentences Lo who promised to deploy private complainants to Italy for a
However, Comila should be made solidarily liable with of both accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 00-180519, 00- fee.
Calimon to indemnify P17,500.00 to Daisy Devanadera, 180520 and 00-180521, inclusive, the period during which
since Comila’s acquittal on the ground of reasonable doubt they have been under preventive imprisonment should be The people, through the Office of the Solicitor General
did not declare whether the facts from which the civil liability credited in their favor provided that they agreed voluntarily in (OSG), maintains that accused-appellant Calimon committed
might arise did not exist (Last paragraph, Section 2, Rule writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale while accused-
120, Rules of Court). convicted prisoners, otherwise, they should be credited with appellant Comila committed the crime of simple illegal
four-fifths only of the time they have been under preventive recruitment. By her conduct, Calimon successfully gave
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the May 21, 2001 imprisonment. private complainants the impression that she had the ability
Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch to send workers abroad although she did not in fact have the
35, in Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745; 00-180519; 00- authority to do so. She was also able to induce private
complainants to tender payment for fees. Since there were fine of not less than Two hundred thousand pesos supported by the testimonies of the private complainants,
three (3) workers involved in the transaction, she committed (P200,000.00) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos particularly Devanadera[39] who categorically testified that
the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale. As to Comila, (P500,000.00). accused-appellants promised private complainants
the OSG argues that there is clear and convincing evidence employment and assured them of placement overseas.
that she conspired with Calimon. The OSG, however, points (b) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less
out that conspiracy was not alleged in the Information. than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) nor more Magnaye and Agramon also corroborated the testimony of
Hence, Comila can only be convicted for simple illegal than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) shall be imposed if Devanadera.[40] Their narration undoubtedly established
recruitment, not for illegal recruitment in large scale in illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined that accused-appellants promised them employment in Italy
conspiracy with Calimon. [35] herein. as factory workers and they (accused-appellants) asked
money from them (private complainants) to allegedly
Additionally, the OSG submits that accused-appellant Provided, however, That the maximum penalty shall be process their papers and visas. Private complainants were
Calimon committed two counts of estafa through false imposed if the person illegally recruited is less than eighteen deceived as they relied on accused-appellants’
pretenses while accused-appellant Comila committed one (18) years of age or committed by a non-licensee or non- misrepresentation and scheme that caused them to entrust
count of estafa through false pretenses. Accused- holder of authority. their money to them in exchange of what they later
appellants’ acts of deliberately misrepresenting themselves discovered was a vain hope of obtaining employment
to private complainants as having the necessary authority or In a litany of cases,[36] we held that to constitute illegal abroad.
license to recruit applicants for overseas employment, and recruitment in large scale three (3) elements must concur:
collecting money from them allegedly for processing fees (a) the offender has no valid license or authority required by Accused-appellants’ mere denials, as well as their self-
and travel documents, but failing to deploy them and to law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment and serving and uncorroborated testimonies, cannot stand
return the money they had collected despite several placement of workers; (b) the offender undertakes any of the against the straightforward testimonies of private
demands clearly amount to estafa. activities within the meaning of "recruitment and placement" complainants who positively identified[41] them in court as
under Art. 13, par. (b), of the Labor Code, or any of the the persons who enticed them to part with their money upon
After a thorough review of the records, we hold that the prohibited practices enumerated under Art. 34 of the same their fraudulent representations that they (accused-
present appeal is plainly unmeritorious. Code (now Sec. 6, RA 8042); and, (c) the offender appellants) would be able to secure for the former
committed the same against three (3) or more persons, employment abroad. In the absence of any evidence that
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 8042 state: individually or as a group. the prosecution witnesses were motivated by improper
motives, the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of the
SEC. 6. Definition. – For purposes of this Act, illegal Corollarily, Article 13, paragraph (b) of the Labor Code witnesses shall not be interfered with by this Court.[42]
recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing, enlisting, enumerates the acts which constitute recruitment and
contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring placement: Third, accused-appellant Calimon committed illegal
workers and includes referring, contract services, promising recruitment activities involving at least three persons, i.e.,
or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or (b) ‘Recruitment and placement’ refer to any act of the three private complainants herein. On the part of Comila,
not, when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, this third element was not proved and thus, she was properly
authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract convicted of simple illegal recruitment only.
Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or
Code of the Philippines: Provided, that any such non- abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person This Court is likewise convinced that the prosecution proved
licensee or non-holder who, in any manner, offers or or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellants are guilty
promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more employment to two or more persons shall be deemed of estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code:
persons shall be deemed so engaged. x x x engaged in recruitment and placement.
ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). ….
Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if Here, we are convinced that the three elements were
carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt. 2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or
conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the
committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or First, accused-appellants, undoubtedly, did not have any commission of the fraud:
more persons individually or as a group. x x x license to recruit persons for overseas work. This is
substantiated by the POEA, Licensing Branch which issued (a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess
Sec. 7. Penalties. – a Certification[37] to this effect and the testimony of an power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency,
employee of the POEA, Corazon Cristobal.[38] business or imaginary transactions; or by means of other
(a) Any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer similar deceits.
the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years Second, accused-appellants engaged in illegal recruitment
and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years and a activities, offering overseas employment for a fee. This is ….
There are three ways of committing estafa under the above- pay the fine of P500,000.00, and to indemnify private Labor and Employment to recruit workers for an overseas
quoted provision: (1) by using a fictitious name; (2) by complainants Paul Abril (Abril), Joel Panguelo (Panguelo) employment.
falsely pretending to possess power, influence, and Evangeline Garcia (Garcia) in the amounts of
qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or P44,000.00, P50,000 and P50,000, respectively. The Upon arraignment, Hu assisted by counsel entered a plea of
imaginary transactions; and (3) by means of other similar decretal part of the assailed Court of Appeals Decision not guilty while Genoves remained at large.[7]
deceits. Under this class of estafa, the element of deceit is reads: Subsequently, trial on the merits ensued. While the
indispensable.[43] In the present case, the deceit consists Information for illegal recruitment named several persons as
of accused-appellants’ false statement or fraudulent Wherefore, in the light of the foregoing disquisitions, the having been promised jobs by Hu and Genoves, only four of
representation which was made prior to, or at least decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch them – Panguelo, Garcia, Abril and Orillano -- testified.
simultaneously with, the delivery of the money by the 66,in Criminal Case No. 03-856, finding appellant Nenita B.
complainants. To convict for this type of crime, it is essential Hu, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, is Hu was the President of Brighturn International Services,
that the false statement or fraudulent representation hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Inc. (Brighturn), a land-based recruitment agency duly
constitutes the very cause or the only motive which induces licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency
the complainant to part with the thing of value.[44] As modified, the award of actual damages in the amount of (POEA) to engage in the business of recruitment and
P50,000 in favor of Evangeline Garcia, is DELETED.[4] placement of workers abroad, with principal address at No.
Accused-appellants led private complainants to believe that 1916 San Marcelino St., Malate, Manila.Brighturn was
they possessed the power, means and legal qualifications to The antecedent facts are as follows: authorized by the POEA to recruit, process and deploy land-
provide the latter with work in Italy, when in fact they did not. based workers for the period 18 December 1999 to 17
Private complainants parted with their hard-earned money An Information[5] for Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale was December 2001.[8]
and suffered damage by reason of accused-appellants filed against Hu and Ethel V. Genoves (Genoves) which
deceitful and illegal acts. The elements of deceit and reads: Genoves worked as a consultant and marketing officer of
damage for this form of estafa are indisputably present, Brighturn. Aside from her stint at Brighturn, Genoves was
hence their conviction for estafa was proper. The undersigned Prosecutor accuses Ethel V. Genoves also connected with Riverland Consultancy Service
a.k.a. Merry Ann Genoves and Nenita B. Hu, of the crime of (Riverland), another recruitment agency located at Room
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit and Violation of Section 6 penalized under Section 7(b) of RA No. 210, LPL Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.
the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR 8042[6] (Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale) committed as
No. 00611 dated January 31, 2006 is AFFIRMED. follows: Private complainants Orillano, Panguelo, Abril and Garcia
sought employment at Brighturn for the positions of factory
SO ORDERED. That on or about the 9th day of October 2001, in the City of worker and electronic operator in Taiwan.[9] Notwithstanding
Makati, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this private complainants’ compliance with all of the pre-
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and employment requirements, including the payment of
confederating together and both of them helping and aiding placement fees, they were not able to leave the country to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,Plaintiff-Appellee, one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and work abroad.
versus NENITA B. HU,Accused-Appellant.2008 feloniously recruit, promise employment/job placement
abroad for an overseas employment and collect fees from Sometime in June 2001, Panguelo was informed by a friend
Oct 6 3rd Division G.R. No. 182232
the following persons to wit: that Brighturn was hiring factory workers for Taiwan. When
DECISION Panguelo went to Brighturn, he was promised employment
NOEL P. DELAYUN abroad by Hu for P50,000.00. Upon Hu’s instruction,
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Panguelo paid in full the placement fee in the amount of
JOEY F. SILAO P50,000.00 to Genoves. The payment was evidenced by an
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by accused- Official Receipt dated 16 October 2001 bearing Genoves’
JOEL U. PANGUELO signature. Panguelo waited for three years to be deployed to
appellant Nenita B. Hu (Hu) seeking to reverse and set aside
the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated 9 October Taiwan. His waiting was all for naught. Thus, Panguelo
PAUL C. ABRIL decided to abort his application and demanded from Hu the
2007 in CA-G.R.-CR.-H.C. No. 02243, affirming with
modification the Decision[2] dated 4 January 2005 of the return of the amount he paid for the placement fee, but Hu
EVANGELINE E. GARCIA could no longer return the money.[10]
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 66, in
Criminal Case No. 03-356. The RTC in its Decision found Hu
ERIC V. ORILLANO Also sometime in September 2001, Abril went to Brighturn to
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal
recruitment in large scale, as defined and penalized under apply as a factory worker in Taiwan. At Brighturn, Abril was
thus in large scale amounting to economic sabotage without entertained by Hu who oriented him on the necessary
Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 8042,[3] and accordingly, any license or authorized by the POEA of the Department of
sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment, to requirements for application which included a valid passport,
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance and ID warning job applicants to pay placement fees only to the Large Scale. According to the Solicitor General, all the
pictures. After complying with the documentary cashier. After the expiration of its license issued by the elements of illegal recruitment in large scale had been
requirements, Abril was required by Hu to pay the placement POEA on 18 December 1999, Brighturn failed to pursue its established beyond reasonable doubt.[18]
fee to Genoves in the amount of P44,000.00. As shown in application for renewal due its inability to post the required
Official Receipts dated 9 October 2001 and 26 October cash bond. Brighturn was thus constrained to refer all We cannot sustain the conviction for illegal recruitment in
2000, which were signed by Genoves, Abril paid the whole pending applications to Best One. [14] large scale.
amount of P44,000.00 as placement fee. Abril was assured
by Hu that he would be deployed to Taiwan by December Hu admitted knowing the private complainants because Illegal recruitment is committed when two elements concur,
2001 which was subsequently reset to April 2002. Despite these individuals went to her office demanding the return of namely: (1) the offender has no valid license orauthority
several postponements, Abril was not able to leave the their placement fees by showing their official receipts. Hu required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in the
country.[11] averred that when she examined such receipts, she found recruitment and placement of workers; and (2) he
that private complainants paid their placement fees to undertakes any activity within the meaning of “recruitment
For his part, Orillano came to know of Brighturn thru Riverland and not to Brighturn as shown in the heading of and placement” defined under Article 13(b) of the Labor
Genoves. Orillano was interviewed at Brighturn by a the said receipts which bore the name and address of Code.[19] Recruitment and placement is “any act of
Taiwanese principal in October 2001. After the interview, Hu Riverland and its proprietress, Genoves. Hu denied knowing canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing,
informed Orillano to submit a medical certificate, NBI Genoves.[15] hiring or procuring workers; and includes referrals, contact
clearance and passport; and to pay the requisite placement services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or
fee in the amount of P50,000.00. Believing that Hu could On 4 January 2005, the trial court rendered a Decision[16] abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, that any person
send him abroad, Orillano faithfully complied with these finding Hu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee
requirements including the placement fee, the payment of illegal recruitment in large scale, the dispositive portion of employment to two or more persons shall be deemed
which was made to Genoves at Brighturn’s office. Despite which reads: engaged in recruitment and placement.”[20]
such payment, however, Orillano was not able to leave the
country.[12] WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Nenita Hu guilty The crime becomes Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale when
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment the foregoing two elements concur, with the addition of a
Garcia suffered the same fate as her co-applicants. In April in large scale under Section 6 and 7(b) of Republic Act No. third element – the recruiter committed the same against
2002, Garcia applied as Electronic Operator at Brighturn 8042, and, accordingly, sentences the accused to suffer the three or more persons, individually or as group.[21]
wherein she was entertained by Hu who informed her that penalty of life imprisonment, pay the fine of P500,000.00 and
Brighturn’s license was suspended. Garcia was then to indemnify private complainants Paul Abril in the amount of A conviction for large scale illegal recruitment must be based
referred by Hu to Best One International (Best One), another P44,000.00, Joel Panguelo in the amount of P50,000.00 and on a finding in each case of illegal recruitment of three or
recruitment agency likewise located in Malate, Manila. While Evangeline Garcia in the amount of P50,000.00. more persons whether individually or as a group. While it is
Garcia was told by Hu that the processing of her documents true that the law does not require that at least three victims
would be done at Best One, the placement fee, however, The Court of Appeals, in its Decision[17] dated 9 October testify at the trial, nevertheless, it is necessary that there is
should be paid at Brighturn. Accordingly, the amount of 2007, confirmed the presence of all the elements of illegal sufficient evidence proving that the offense was committed
P60,000.00 was paid by Garcia to Hu and Genoves as recruitment in large scale, and thereby affirmed the against three or more persons.[22]
placement fee upon Hu’s instruction. Almost predictably, the conviction of Hu with the modification that the amount of
promise of an employment abroad never came to pass.[13] actual damages awarded to Garcia in the amount of In the appreciation of evidence in criminal cases, it is a basic
P50,000.00 be deleted. tenet that the prosecution has the burden of proof in
When Hu was not able to refund the amounts paid as establishing the guilt of the accused for the offense with
placement fees upon demand, private complainants went to Hence, this Petition raising the sole issue of: which he is charged. Ei incumbit probation qui dicit non qui
NBI to file a complaint for illegal recruitment against Hu and negat; i.e., “he who asserts, not he who denies, must prove.”
Genoves. WHETHER OR NOT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN The conviction of appellant must rest not on the weakness of
FINDING HU GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF his defense, but on the strength of the prosecution’s
For her defense, Hu claimed that she was the President of ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT IN LARGE SCALE. evidence.[23]
Brighturn, a duly authorized land-based recruitment agency.
Brighturn had foreign principals in Taiwan who were looking Conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to adduce sufficient
for skilled individuals willing to work in a foreign country. Hu appellate court found that Hu made enticing, albeit empty evidence to prove that illegal recruitment was committed
alleged that Brighturn had an established recruitment promises, which moved private complainants to part with against three or more persons. What we have uncovered
procedure wherein applicants were only required to pay the their money and pay the placement fee. upon careful scrutiny of the records was the fact that illegal
corresponding placement fees after the POEA had already recruitment was committed against only one person; that is,
approved their employment contracts. According to Hu, For its part, the Solicitor General joined the lower courts in against Garcia alone. Illegal recruitment cannot successfully
announcements were posted all over Brighturn’s premises finding that Hu was indeed guilty of Illegal Recruitment in attach to the allegations of Panguelo, Abril and Orillano,
since they testified that they accomplished their pre- 12% legal interest per annum, reckoned from the filing of the fatal to the prosecution’s case. As long as the prosecution is
employment requirements through Brighturn from June 2001 information until the finality of the judgment. It is well settled able to establish through credible and testimonial evidence,
up to October of the same year,[24] a period wherein that acquittal based on reasonable doubt does not preclude as in the case at bar, that the appellant had engaged in
Brighturn’s license to engage in recruitment and placement an award for civil damages. The judgment of acquittal illegal recruitment, a conviction for the offense can be very
was still in full force and effect. [25] extinguishes the liability of the accused only when it includes well justified.[34]
a declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might
While there were six private complainants in this case, four arise did not exist. Thus, civil liability is not extinguished Irrefragably, the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable
of whom were presented during the trial, the prosecution, where the acquittal is based on lack of proof beyond doubt the guilt of Hu of the charge of illegal recruitment
nonetheless, failed to establish that Hu engaged in illegal reasonable doubt, since only preponderance of evidence is against Garcia when the former referred the latter to another
recruitment acts against at least three of these complainants. required in civil cases. There appears to be no sound agency without the license or authority to do so. The trial
In offenses in which the number of victims is essential, such reason to require that a separate action be still filed court gave full credence to the testimony of Garcia, which
as in the present petition, failure of the prosecution to prove considering that the facts to be proved in the civil case have unmistakably demonstrated how Hu successfully enticed her
by convincing evidence that the offense is committed against already been established in the criminal proceedings.[30] In to part with a considerable amount of money in exchange for
the minimum number of persons required by law is fatal to its the present case, the prosecution explicitly proved that an employment abroad which was never realized. This
cause of action. Underscoring the significance of the private complainants parted with substantial amounts of finding was adopted by the appellate court, considering that
number of victims was the disquisition of Justice Florenz money upon the prodding and enticement of Hu on the false that the trial court was in the best position to ascertain
Regalado in People v. Ortiz-Miyake[26]: pretense that she had the capacity to deploy them for credibility issues, having heard the witnesses themselves
employment abroad. In the end, private complainants were and observed their deportment and manner of testifying
It is evident that in illegal recruitment cases,the number of not able to leave for work abroad or get their money back. during trial.
persons victimized is determinative. Where illegal
recruitment is committed against a lone victim, the accused Neither does her acquittal herein exempt Hu from Aptly, the bare denials of Hu have no probative value when
may be convicted of simple illegal recruitment which is subsequent criminal prosecution for estafa[31] provided that ranged against the affirmative declarations of Garcia, even if
punishable with a lower penalty under Article 39(c)[27] of the deceit, which is an essential element of estafa, be proven by the latter failed to present receipts for the payments she had
Labor Code. Corollarily, where the offense is committed the prosecution.[32] Apparently, Hu deluded private made. In People v. Villas,[35] this Court affirmed Neither is
against three or more persons, it is qualified to illegal complainants into believing that she had the capacity to send there merit in the contention of the defense that appellant
recruitment in large scale which provides a higher penalty them abroad for employment. Through this hoax, she was should be exonerated for failure of the prosecution to
under Article 39(a)[28] of the same Code. ( emphasis able to convince private complainants to surrender their present any receipt proving that private complainants paid
supplied.) money to her in the vain hope, as it turned out, of securing her anything. The defense argues that a receipt is the best
employment abroad. evidence to prove delivery of money and the absence
Regrettably, we cannot affirm the conviction of Hu for the thereof shows that no payment was made.
offense of illegal recruitment in large scale. While we This leaves us a case of simple illegal recruitment committed
strongly condemn the pervasive proliferation of illegal job against Garcia. This argument is not novel. The Court has previously ruled
recruiters and syndicates preying on innocent people that the absence of receipts evidencing payment does not
anxious to obtain employment abroad, nevertheless, we find Garcia testified that she applied for employment in Taiwan defeat a criminal prosecution for illegal recruitment. In
the pieces of evidence insufficient to prove the guilt of Hu for the position of Electronic Operator thru Brighturn in April People vs. Pabalan [262 SCRA 574, 30 September 1996],
beyond reasonable doubt. It is unfortunate that the 2002. Due to the alleged suspension of Brighturn’s license, this Court ruled:
prosecution evidence did not pass the test of reasonable Hu referred her to a neighboring agency (Best One), but Hu
doubt, since the testimonies of its witnesses unveil a continued collecting placement fees from her. “x x x the absence of receipts in a criminal case for illegal
contradicting inference -- that the recruitment of Panguelo, recruitment does not warrant the acquittal of the accused
Abril and Orillano was undertaken by Hu with the required The act of referral, which means the act of passing along or and is not fatal to the case of the prosecution. As long as
authority from the POEA. forwarding an applicant after an initial interview to a selected the witnesses had positively shown through their respective
employer, placement or bureau, is included in recruitment. testimonies that the accused is the one involved in the
Failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of Hu beyond [33] Undoubtedly, the act of Hu in referring Garcia to prohibited recruitment, he may be convicted of the offense
reasonable doubt does not absolve her of her civil obligation another recruitment agency squarely fell within the purview despite the want of receipts.
to return the money she collected from private complaints of recruitment that was undertaken by Hu after her authority
Panguelo, Abril and Orillano, plus legal interest in to recruit and place workers already expired on 17 “The Statute of Frauds and the rules of evidence do not
accordance with our ruling in Domagsang v. Court of December 2001. require the presentation of receipts in order to prove the
Appeals.[29] There, the prosecution failed to sufficiently existence of recruitment agreement and the procurement of
establish a case to warrant a conviction, but clearly proved a Failure of Garcia to present proof of payment is irrelevant. fees in illegal recruitment cases. The amounts may
just debt owed to the private complainant. Thus, the The absence of receipts in the case of illegal recruitment consequently be proved by the testimony of witnesses.”
accused was ordered to pay the face value of the check with does not warrant the acquittal of the appellant and is not
The private complainants have convincingly testified that the No. 02243 affirming the conviction of the accused-appellant
accused enticed them to apply and, in actual fact, received Nenita B. Hu for the offense of Illegal Recruitment in Large
payments from them. And to these testimonies, the trial Scale and sentencing her to life imprisonment is hereby
court accorded credence. On the other hand, appellant has VACATED. A new Decision is hereby entered convicting the
not shown any reason to justify a modification or reversal of accused-appellant of the offense of Simple Illegal
the trial court’s finding. Recruitment committed against private complainant
Evangeline Garcia. She is sentenced to suffer the
Our ruling in People v. Villas[36] that the absence of receipts indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years to twelve (12) years
in illegal recruitment case does not warrant the acquittal of of imprisonment. She is ordered to pay a fine in the amount
the accused has been reiterated in several cases.[37] We of P500,000.00 and to indemnify private complainant
are not unaware of the proliferation of these scheming illegal Evangeline Garcia in the amount of P60,000.00, with 12%
recruiters who cunningly rob Filipino workers, desperate to interest per annum, reckoned from the filing of the
work abroad, of their money in exchange of empty promises. information until the finality of the judgment.
This Court cannot be drawn to the ingenious ploy of these
illegal recruiters in withholding receipts from their victims in Accused-appellant Nenita B. Hu is likewise ordered to
their vain attempt to evade liability. indemnify private complainants Paul Abril in the amount of
P44,000.00, Joel Panguelo in the amount of P50,000.00,
In fine, the Court will have to discard the conviction for illegal and Eric Orillano in the amount of P50,000.00, with 12%
recruitment in large scale meted out by the RTC, since only interest per annum, as reckoned above.
one applicant abroad was recruited by Hu without license
and authority from the POEA. Accordingly, Hu should be SO ORDERED.
held responsible for simple illegal recruitment only. Hu’s
unsuccessful indictment for illegal recruitment in large scale,
however, does not discharge her from her civil obligation to
return the placement fees paid by private complainants.

Under Section 7(a) of Republic Act No. 8042,[38] simple


illegal recruitment is punishable by imprisonment of not less
than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve
years and a fine of not less than two hundred thousand
pesos (P200,000.00) nor more than five hundred thousand
pesos (P500,000.00).

Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that if


the offense is punishable by a special law, as in this case,
the court shall impose on the accused an indeterminate
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the
maximum fixed by the said law and the minimum of which
shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the
same. Accordingly, a penalty of eight (8) to twelve (12) years
of imprisonment should be meted out to Hu. In addition, a
fine in the amount of P500,000.00; and indemnity to private
complainants -- Abril in the amount of P44,000.00, Panguelo
in the amount of P50,000.00, Garcia in the amount of
P60,000.00 and Orillano in the amount of P50,000.00, with
12% legal interest per annum, reckoned from the filing of the
information until the finality of the judgment – is imposed.

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant


petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Decision dated 9
October 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.-CR.-H.C.