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SIAZON, JR., SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT (DOLE), represented by HON. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, Respondents. 2006 Sep 19 1st Division G.R. No. 152214
DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision dated 4 October 2001 and Resolution dated 18 February 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 61904. The Decision denied petitioner’s petition for certiorari while the Resolution denied its Motion for Reconsideration. The Court of Appeals summarized the facts of this case in this wise: On September 16, 2000, Manny dela Rosa Razon, a native of Lemery, Batangas and an overseas Filipino worker, died of acute cardiac arrest while asleep at the dormitory of the Samsong Textile Processing Factory in South Korea. Informed thereof, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) at South Korea immediately relayed the incident to the Philippine Embassy in South Korea. Forthwith, the [Labor] Attaché of the Philippine Embassy dispatched a letter to Eleuterio N. Gardiner, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). The letter reads: “VERY URGENT, POLO has recently received a report that OFW Manny dela Rosa RAZON, an undocumented worker, died last Saturday, 16 September, from an apparent pancreatic attack or ‘bangungot.’ According to the verbal reports of Moises and Ronald Recarde, Manny’s co-workers, he was found already lifeless inside their quarters at around 11:00 in the morning of the above date. They rushed him to Uri Hospital where the Doctor declared him dead on arrival. Per information gathered, the deceased is single, 29 years old, from Bukal, Lemery, Batangas. His next-of-kins are Mrs. Rowena Razon (Auntie) and Mr. Razon (Uncle) with telephone number (043)411-2308.
POLO is awaiting signed statements from the aforementioned workers who promised to send it by fax this afternoon. We are also coordinating with the deceased’s employer for documentation requirements and financial assistance for the repatriation of the remains. We will highly appreciate if Home Office could advise the next-of-kins of the urgent need to issue a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to facilitate the repatriation requirements of the subject. In anticipation of the next-of-kins’ likely move to seek financial assistance from OWWA for the repatriation of their loved [one], please be advised in advance that we will need about US$4,000.00 to repatriate the cadaver (to include hospital and morgue costs) to Manila. xxx” In turn, the OWWA, through Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, indorsed the matter, for appropriate action, to Director R. Casco of the Welfare Employment Office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (WEO-POEA). Upon verification by the WEO-POEA on its data base, it was discovered that Manny Razon was recruited and deployed by petitioner Equi-Asia Placement, Inc., and was sent to South Korea on April 3, 2000 to work-train at Yeongjin Machinery, Inc. Thereupon, POEA addressed the herein first assailed telegram-directive dated September 22, 2000 to the President/General Manager of the petitioner. We quote the telegram: “PLEASE PROVIDE PTA [Prepaid Ticket Advice] FOR THE REPATRIATION OF REMAINS AND BELONGINGS OF OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON AS PER REQUEST OF PHILIPPINE EMBASSY, KOREA, YOU CAN COORDINATE WITH YOUR FOREIGN EMPLOYER AND TO WAD/OWWA (MLA) AS REGARDS TO THIS MATTER. YOU ARE GIVEN TWO (2) DAYS FROM RECEIPT HEREOF WITHIN WHICH TO PROVIDE SAID TICKET AND ASSISTANCE, KINDLY SUBMIT YOUR REPORT TO ASSISTANCE AND WELFARE DIVISION (AWD), 2/F POEA, FAILURE TO DO SO WILL CONSTRAIN US TO IMPOSE APPROPRIATE SANCTION UNDER OUR RULES” Responding thereto, petitioner, thru its President Daniel Morga, Jr., faxed on September 26, 2000 the following message to the Assistance and Welfare Division of the POEA:
“In connection with your telegram, dated 09/22/2000, requiring us to report the circumstances surrounding the death of OFW MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON in Korea and requesting us to issue a PTA, etc., for the repatriation of the remains of said OFW, this is to report to your good office the following: 1. The deceased was deployed by our agency on April 3, 2000 to Yeongjin Machine Company in South Korea; 2. He violated his employment/training/dispatching contracts on June 25, 2000 by unlawfully escaping/running away (TNT) from his company assignment without prior KFSMB authorization and working/staying in unknown company/place; 3. He allegedly died of ‘bangungot’ thereafter;
In view thereof, we cannot heed your requests as embodied in your telegram. However, his relatives can avail of the benefits provided for by OWWA in cases involving undocumented/illegal Filipino workers abroad. Trusting for your kind understanding” On the same date – September 26, 2000 – Director Ricardo R. Casco of the WEO-POEA sent to the petitioner the herein second assailed letter-directive, which pertinently reads: “We have received a copy of your fax message dated 26 September 2000 as regards to your response to our request for PTA for aforesaid deceased OFW. Nevertheless, may we remind you that pursuant to Sections 52, 53, 54 and 55 of the Implementing Rules Governing RA 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, the repatriation of OFW, his/her remains and transport of his personal effects is the primary responsibility of the principal or agency and to immediately advance the cost of plane fare without prior determination of the cause of worker’s repatriation. The Rules further provide for the procedure to be followed in cases when the foreign employer/agency fails to provide for the cost of the repatriation, compliance of which is punishable by suspension of the license of the agency or such sanction as the Administration shall deem proper. Hence, you are required to provide the PTA for the deceased OFW in compliance with the requirement in accordance with R.A. 8042. You are given forty-eight (48) hours upon receipt hereof within which to provide said ticket. Failure in this regard will constrain us to impose the appropriate sanction under our rules.”
On September 27, 2000, petitioner wrote back Director Ricardo R. Casco, thus: “In connection with your fax letter dated September 26, 2000, re: the repatriation of the remains of the deceased, extrainee (OFW) MANNY DELA ROSA RAZON, please be informed that the provisions of Section 53 as well as, and in relation to, Section 55 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 on the matters covering the following: 1. The responsibility of the agency to advance the cost of plane fare without prior determination of the cause of the deceased worker’s termination. 2. The recovery of the same costs from the estate of the dead worker before the NLRC. 3. The action to be imposed by POEA for noncompliance therewith within 48 hours are violative of due process and/or the principle on due delegation of power. This is so because Sec. 15 of R.A. 8042 clearly contemplates prior notice and hearing before responsibility thereunder could be established against the agency that sets up the defense of sole fault – in avoidance of said responsibility -. Besides, the sections in question unduly grant the powers to require advance payment of the plane fare, to impose the corresponding penalty of suspension in case of non-compliance therewith, within 48 hours and to recover said advance payment from the dead worker’s estate upon the return of his remains to the country before the NLRC, when the law itself does not expressly provide for the grant of such powers. xxx xxx x x x.
“WHETHER OR NOT SECTIONS 52, 53, 54 AND 55 OF THE OMNIBUS RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING THE MIGRANT WORKERS AND OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995 (R.A. 8042), ISSUED BY DFA AND POEA, WHICH POEA SUMMARILY ORDERED THE HEREIN PETITIONER TO COMPLY VIZ-AVIZ THE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE OF THE EXPENSES FOR THE REPATRIATION OF THE REMAINS OF A DECEASED WORKER-TRAINEE WHO, AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, HAS NO EXISTING EMPLOYMENT (DISPATCHING) CONTRACT WITH EITHER SAID PETITIONER OR HIS FOREIGN PRINCIPAL AND NO VALID VISA OR IS NOT WORKING WITH THE FOREIGN PRINCIPAL TO WHICH PETITIONER DEPLOYED HIM, IS ILLEGAL AND/OR VIOLATIVE OF DUE PROCESS SUCH THAT POEA ACTED WITHOUT [OR IN] EXCESS OF ITS JURISDICTION AND/OR IN GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ISSUING SAID ORDER TO PAY SAID EXPENSES.” On 4 October 2001, the Court of Appeals rendered the Decision which is now the subject of the present petition. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ Decision states: WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the instant petition is DENIED and is accordingly DISMISSED. In dismissing the petition for certiorari, the Court of Appeals stated that petitioner was mainly accusing the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) of grave abuse of discretion when it ordered petitioner to pay, in advance, the costs for the repatriation of the remains of the deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon. The Court of Appeals ruled that the POEA did not commit any grave abuse of discretion as its directives to petitioner were issued pursuant to existing laws and regulations. It likewise held that a petition for certiorari, which was the remedy availed of by petitioner, is not the proper remedy as the same is only available when “there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.” Section 62 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 or Republic Act 8042 (“Omnibus Rules”) states that “the Labor Arbiters of NLRC shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all claims arising out of employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages,
subject to the rules and procedures of the NLRC.” There is, therefore, an adequate remedy available to petitioner. Lastly, the Court of Appeals declared that it could not strike down as unconstitutional Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules as the unconstitutionality of a statute or rules may not be passed upon unless the issue is directly raised in an appropriate proceeding. In the present recourse, petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration: 1. The Court of Appeals erred in the appreciation of the issue as it mistakenly considered, in dismissing the petition before it, that petitioner is contesting the compliance and conformity of the POEA directives with Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations implementing in particular Section 15 of RA 8042; 2. The Court of Appeals, in dismissing the petition, again erred in ruling that constitutional questions cannot be passed upon and adjudged in a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; 3. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that, under the facts of the case that gave rise to the petition before it, the same sections of the said rules and regulations are illegal, invalid and/or violative of the right of petitioner to due process of law and, therefore, the POEA directives issued pursuant thereto constitute acts committed without, or in excess of, jurisdiction and/or in grave abuse of discretion. In Our Resolution of 20 November 2002, we gave due course to the present petition and directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. On 28 August 2006, we resolved to dispense with the memorandum of the estate/heirs of deceased Manny dela Rosa Razon. At the center of this petition are the following provisions of the omnibus rules: Section 52. Primary Responsibility for Repatriation. – The repatriation of the worker, or his/her remains, and the transport of his/her personal effects shall be the primary responsibility of the principal or agency which recruited or deployed him/her abroad. All costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal or the agency concerned. Section 53. Repatriation of Workers. – The primary responsibility to repatriate entails the obligation on the part of
Please provide us immediately with the death certificate/post mortem report/police report pertinent to above as proof of death and cause thereof.” Nonetheless, and apprehensive of the adverse repercussions which may ensue on account of its noncompliance with the directive, petitioner, on September 29, 2000, advanced under protest the costs for the repatriation of the remains of the late Manny dela Rosa Razon. Thereafter, petitioner went to this Court via the instant petition for certiorari, posing, for Our consideration, the sole issue of –
principal or agency to advance the cost of plane fare and to immediately repatriate the worker should the need for it arise, without a prior determination of the cause of the termination of the worker’s employment. However, after the worker has returned to the country, the principal or agency may recover the cost of repatriation from the worker if the termination of employment was due solely to his/her fault. Every contract for overseas employment shall provide for the primary responsibility of agency to advance the cost of plane fare, and the obligation of the worker to refund the cost thereof in case his/her fault is determined by the Labor Arbiter. Section 54. Repatriation Procedure. – When a need for repatriation arises and the foreign employer fails to provide for it cost, the responsible personnel at site shall simultaneously notify OWWA and the POEA of such need. The POEA shall notify the agency concerned of the need for repatriation. The agency shall provide the plane ticket or the prepaid ticket advice (PTA) to the Filipinos Resource Center or to the appropriate Philippine Embassy; and notify POEA of such compliance. The POEA shall inform OWWA of the action of the agency. Section 55. Action on Non-Compliance. – If the employment agency fails to provide the ticket or PTA within 48 hours from receipt of the notice, the POEA shall suspend the license of the agency or impose such sanctions as it may deem necessary. Upon notice from the POEA, OWWA shall advance the costs of repatriation with recourse to the agency or principal. The administrative sanction shall not be lifted until the agency reimburses the OWWA of the cost of repatriation with legal interest. Said provisions, on the other hand, are supposed to implement Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 which provides: SEC. 15. Repatriation of Workers; Emergency Repatriation Fund. – The repatriation of the worker and the transport of his personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the agency which, recruited or deployed the worker overseas. All costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by or charged to the agency concerned and/or its principal. Likewise, the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or the local agency. However, in cases where the termination of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker, the principal/employer or agency shall not in any manner be
responsible for the repatriation of the former and/or his belongings. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals misappreciated the issue it presented in its petition for certiorari when, instead of resolving whether Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are illegal and violative of due process, it merely confined itself to the question of whether or not the POEA committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing its directives of 22 September 2000 and 27 September 2000. Petitioner also contends that, contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals, a special civil action for certiorari is the appropriate remedy to raise constitutional issues. Also, petitioner insists that the subject portions of the omnibus rules are invalid on the ground that Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 does not impose on a recruitment agency the primary responsibility for the repatriation of a deceased Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), while Section 52 of the Omnibus Rules unduly imposes such burden on a placement agency. Moreover, petitioner argues that the word “likewise” at the start of the third sentence of Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 is used merely as a connective word indicating the similarity between a recruitment agency’s financial obligation in the repatriation of living and a deceased OFW. It does not, however, necessarily make a placement agency primarily responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW unlike in the case of an OFW who is alive. As for Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules, petitioner submits that the same is invalid as Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 clearly states that a placement agency shall not in any manner be responsible for the repatriation of the deceased OFW and his or her belongings should the termination of the OFW’s employment be due to his or her fault. However, as Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules stipulates that a placement agency or principal shall bear the primary responsibility of repatriating an OFW and of advancing the payment for his or her plane fare, the omibus rules, as far as this section is concerned, is an invalid exercise of legislative power by an administrative agency. In addition, petitioner claims Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules violates the due process clause of the constitution as it deprives the deploying agency of the right to prior notice and hearing through which it can prove that it should not bear the burden of repatriating an OFW.
Finally, petitioner points out that it should be the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration which should advance the costs of repatriation of the deceased Razon with the resources coming out of the emergency repatriation fund of said agency. The Solicitor General for its part counters that Sections 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the Omnibus Rules are valid quasilegislative acts of respondents Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment. Because of this, the requirements of prior notice and hearing are not essential. Besides, there are cases where even in the exercise of quasi-judicial power, administrative agencies are allowed, sans prior notice and hearing, to effectuate measures affecting private property, such as: 1) [F]or the summary abatement of nuisance per se which affects the immediate safety of persons and property, or 2) in summary proceedings of distraint and levy upon the property of delinquent taxpayers in the collection of internal revenue taxes, fees or charges or any increment thereto, or 3) in the preventive suspension of a public officer pending investigation. x x x. The Solicitor General also adds that since petitioner is engaged in the recruitment of Filipino workers for work abroad, the nature of its business calls for the exercise of the state’s police power in order to safeguard the rights and welfare of the Filipino laborers. One such measure is the primary responsibility imposed upon placement agencies with regard to the repatriation of an OFW or of his remains. The Solicitor General also argues that the wording of Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 leaves no doubt that a recruitment agency shall bear the primary responsibility for the repatriation of an OFW whether the latter is dead or alive. Lastly, the Solicitor General insists that actions assailing the validity of implementing rules and regulations are within the original jurisdiction of the regional trial courts. We shall first address the procedural question involved in the present petition. There is no denying that regular courts have jurisdiction over cases involving the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by administrative agencies. Such jurisdiction, however, is not limited to the Court of Appeals or to this Court alone for even the regional trial courts can take cognizance of actions
and there is no appeal. treaty. Under the first test or the so-called completeness test. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment. instruction. 8042 does not expressly state that petitioner shall be primarily obligated to transport back here to the Philippines the remains of the deceased Razon. and second. Indeed. and (3) there is no appeal or any plain. the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate. Hence. or regulation in the courts. including the regional trial courts. petitioner is impugning the subject provisions of the Omnibus Rules for allegedly expanding the scope of Section 15 of Republic Act No. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. and 55 of the Omnibus Rules. presidential decree. On the other hand. board or officer. it is clear that in order for a petition for certiorari to prosper. mistaken in availing himself of the remedy of an original action for certiorari as obviously. it is doubtful if the legislature can promulgate laws dealing with the minutiae aspects of everyday life. It bears emphasizing that administrative bodies are vested with two basic powers. Be that as it may. In this regard. the quasi-legislative and the quasi-judicial. Civil Service Commission. nevertheless. These requirements include prior notice and hearing. are essential for the performance of this function. mandates that there should be adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. a board or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. 8042 by: first. it is only fair that he or she should shoulder the costs of his or . are not required since there is no determination of past events or facts that have to be established or ascertained. as elements of due process. such duty is imposed upon him as the statute clearly dictates that “the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or the local agency. To our mind. Given the volume and variety of interactions involving the members of today’s society. From this. speedy. While Republic Act No. – When any tribunal. Petition for Certiorari. (2) such tribunal. international or executive agreement. a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. Petitioner’s argument that Section 15 does not provide that it shall be primarily responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW is specious and plain nitpicking.” That the concerned government agencies opted to demand the performance of said responsibility solely upon petitioner does not make said directives invalid as the law plainly obliges a local placement agency such as herein petitioner to bear the burden of repatriating the remains of a deceased OFW with or without recourse to the principal abroad. the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. the authority to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given statute and effectuate its policies. the petition deserves outright dismissal. board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. 8042 itself permits the situation wherein a local recruitment agency can be held exclusively responsible for the repatriation of a deceased OFW. 54.assailing a specific rule or set of rules promulgated by administrative bodies. Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states: SECTION 1. imposing upon it the primary obligation to repatriate the remains of the deceased Razon including the duty to advance the cost of the plane fare for the transport of Razon’s remains. the need to delegate to administrative bodies. Section 1. As a general rule. order or resolution subject thereof. copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto. the statute merely states the general principle that in case the severance of the employment was because of the OFW’s own undoing. as the principal agencies tasked to execute laws with respect to their specialized fields. 53. and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. In this case. and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3. by ordering it to do so without prior determination of the existence of employer-employee relationship between itself and Razon. Rule 46. we shall proceed to resolve the substantive issues raised in this petition for review in order to finally remove the doubt over the validity of Sections 52. The second test or the sufficient standard test. Prior notice to and hearing of every affected party. However. an administrative body adjudicates the rights of persons before it. board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction. If only for these. We resolve that the questioned provisions of the Omnibus Rules meet these requirements. the standards prescribed by the law. and that the regulation be not in contradiction to. v. It is now well-settled that delegation of legislative power to various specialized administrative agencies is allowed in the face of increasing complexity of modern life. Because of this. In Abella. Nor do we see any reason to stamp Section 53 of the Omnibus Rules as invalid for allegedly contravening Section 15 of the law which states that a placement agency shall not be responsible for a worker’s repatriation should the termination of the employer-employee relationship be due to the fault of the OFW. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.” The mandatory nature of said obligation is characterized by the legislature’s use of the word “shall. On these considerations. quasi-legislative power is exercised by administrative agencies through the promulgation of rules and regulations within the confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegation of certain powers flowing from the separation of the great branches of the government. thus. All that is required for the valid exercise of this power of subordinate legislation is that the regulation must be germane to the objects and purposes of the law. Basically. ordinance. it is elementary that due process requirements. prior notice and hearing are not essential to the validity of rules or regulations promulgated to govern future conduct. the following requisites must be present: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal. these rules were clearly promulgated by respondents Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment in the exercise of their quasi-legislative powers or the authority to promulgate rules and regulations. but in conformity with. we see no reason to invalidate Section 52 of the omnibus rules as Republic Act No. the Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law. only judicial or quasijudicial acts are proper subjects thereof. Jr. The determination of facts and the applicable law. as basis for official action and the exercise of judicial discretion. order. petitioner assails certain provisions of the Omnibus Rules.  we discussed the nature of these powers to be – In exercising its quasi-judicial function. in accordance with the standards laid down by the law. nor any plain. petitioner was. must be observed. as enumerated in Ang Tibay.
it is only proper that an OFW be brought back here in our country at the soonest possible time lest he remains stranded in a foreign land during the whole time that recruitment agency contests its liability for repatriation. now using the name Petroleum Shipping Limited (“Petroleum Shipping”). as follows: On the claim of illegal dismissal. (“Trans-Global”) hired Florello W. SO ORDERED. however. However. Section 15 of Republic Act No. TANCHICO. the Petition for Review is DENIED. Tanchico became Chief Engineer. As aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General – Such a situation is unacceptable. disability and medical benefits and 13th month pay. Ltd. the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the 29 March 1999 Resolution of the NLRC. economy and welfare. perforce. On 8 December 1992. With costs. On 13 October 1992. PETROLEUM SHIPPING LIMITED (formerly ESSO INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING (BAHAMAS) CO. the NLRC denied their motion. respondent agency should pay complainant his monthly pay computed at [sic] the actual month [sic] worked.” and “simplicity. 2006 Jun 16 3rd Division G.her homecoming. this Court had. Tanchico accepted the offer. The medical examination revealed that Tanchico was suffering from “Ischemic Heart Disease. Inc. 8042 seeks to protect. In 1981. the NLRC affirmed the Decision of Labor Arbiter De Vera. the respondent Agency not falling under the enumerated exempted employers under P. Tanchico returned to the Philippines for a two-month vacation after completing his eight-month deployment. These are the same rights R. In a Resolution promulgated on 29 March 1999.) and TRANS-GLOBAL MARITIME AGENCY. To be left stranded in a foreign land without the financial means to return home and being at the mercy of unscrupulous individuals is a violation of the OFW’s dignity and his human rights. Esso no longer deployed Tanchico. Since complainant was forced to litigate his case. Tanchico underwent the required standard medical examination prior to boarding the vessel. Tanchico filed a motion for reconsideration. the case was indorsed to the Arbitration Branch of the National Capital Region. Tanchico filed a complaint against Esso. and Trans-Global (collectively referred to as “petitioners”) filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals assailing the 29 March 1999 and 27 July 1999 Resolutions of the NLRC. 851 and in the absence of any proof that respondent is already paying its employees a 13th month pay or more in a calendar year. meet the requirement and provide enough guidance for the formulation of the omnibus rules.” In this case.” Tanchico took medications for two months and a subsequent stress test showed a negative result. No. Petitioners. Esso. As such determination would most likely take some time. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its Decision promulgated on 25 January 2001.. (“Esso”) through Trans-Global Maritime Agency. Instead. separation pay.. Esso offered to pay him benefits under the Career Employment Incentive Plan. Trans-Global and Malayan Insurance Co. In a Decision dated 16 October 1996. De Vera (“Labor Arbiter De Vera”) dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. Labor Arbiter Jose G. SO ORDERED. The Antecedent Facts On 6 March 1978. In its 27 July 1999 Resolution. 8042 was enacted with the thought of upholding the dignity of the Filipinos may they be here or abroad and that the State shall at all times afford full protection to labor. in the past. which is 8 months. 8042 (“RA 8042”) transferring to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) the jurisdiction over money claims of overseas workers. Hypertensive Cardio-Muscular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus.R. LTD. Repatriation is in effect an unconditional responsibility of the agency and/or its principal that cannot be delayed by an investigation of why the worker was terminated from employment. 851. Respondents. the same is unavailing as complainant had been declared as one with partial permanent disability. certainly does not preclude a placement agency from establishing the circumstances surrounding an OFW’s dismissal from service in an appropriate proceeding. Esso and Trans-Global moved for the reconsideration of the 29 March 1999 Resolution. No. he is hereby awarded 10% of the total award as attorney’s fees.. 24.D. J. SP No.” “justice and equity. Esso International Shipping (Bahamas) Co.” “public convenience and welfare. Tanchico appealed to the NLRC. The Ruling of the NLRC In its Resolution of 3 September 1998. we hold that the legislature’s pronouncements that Republic Act No. versus NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and FLORELLO W.R.A.. as amended . On the claim of 13th month pay. The Court of Appeals ruled that Tanchico was a regular employee of Petroleum Shipping. Inc.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review assailing the 25 January 2001 Decision and 7 May 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. (“Malayan”) before the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for illegal dismissal with claims for backwages. Thus.. 148130 DECISION CARPIO. INC. WHEREFORE. the NLRC reconsidered its 3 September 1998 Resolution. As for the sufficiency of standard test. In view of the enactment of Republic Act No. On 26 April 1993. Tanchico (“Tanchico”) as First Assistant Engineer. accepted as sufficient standards the following: “public interest. he should be entitled to disability benefit of 18 days for every year of credited service of fourteen (14) years less the amount he already received under the Company’s Disability Plan. This is the same reason why repatriation is made by law an obligation of the agency and/or its principal without the need of first determining the cause of the termination of the worker’s employment. 8042. The Court of Appeals held that petitioners are not exempt from the coverage of Presidential Decree No. The Court of Appeals’ Decision dated 4 October 2001 and Resolution dated 18 February 2002 are hereby AFFIRMED. 54756. both here and abroad.
Thus: WHEREFORE. The Court of Appeals decided a question of substance not in accord with law. the Court of Appeals modified its Decision by deducting Tanchico’s vacation from his length of service. NLRC where one of the issues raised was whether seafarers are regular or contractual employees whose employment are terminated everytime their contracts of employment expire. Sec. they can not stay for a long and an indefinite period of time at sea. v. held that there are certain forms of employment which also require the performance of usual and desirable functions and which exceed one year but do not necessarily attain regular employment status under Article 280. and IV. The Court explained: [I]t is clear that seafarers are considered contractual employees. since they have rendered services which are usually necessary and desirable to the business of their employer. the Court of Appeals sustained the award of attorney’s fees. Moreover. They can not be considered as regular employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code. In Coyoca v. it is an accepted maritime industry practice that employment of seafarers are for a fixed period only. SO ORDERED. In its 7 May 2001 Resolution. The Court of Appeals decided a question of substance not heretofore determined by this Court when it ruled that private respondent was entitled to 13th month pay although it was not provided for in the contract of employment between petitioners and private respondent. The petitioners are ordered to pay to the private respondent the following: (1) disability wages equivalent to 18 days per year multiplied by 10 years less any amount already received under the company’s disability plan. In Ravago v. Petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the Decision. cultural and lingual diversity among the crew during the COE is a reality that necessitates the limitation of its period. particularly in Part I. Thus. and that they have rendered more than twenty (20) years of service. Petitioners insist that they should be considered regular employees. We need not depart from the rulings of the Court in the two aforementioned cases which indeed constitute stare decisis with respect to the employment status of seafarers.. Seafarers are Contractual Employees The issue on whether seafarers are regular employees is already a settled matter. Esso Eastern Marine. The Standard Employment Contract governing the employment of All Filipino Seamen on Board Ocean-Going Vessels of the POEA. Seafarers spend most of their time at sea and understandably. II. The Court of Appeals decided a question of substance not in accord with law when it awarded private respondent attorney’s fees despite the Labor Arbiter’s and the public respondent’s. The Court squarely passed upon the issue in Millares v. the Court held that the agency is liable for payment of a seaman’s medical and disability benefits in the event that the principal fails or refuses to pay the benefits or wages due the seaman although the seaman may not be a regular employee of the agency. The Court of Appeals stated that the employer-employee relationship subsisted even during the period of Tanchico’s vacation. whatever the nature of the engagement and despite the provisions of Article 280 of the Labor Code. Duration of Contract The period of employment shall be for a fixed period but in no case to exceed 12 months and shall be stated in the Crew Contract.(“PD 851”) which mandates the payment of 13th month pay to all employees. Inc. was a regular employee. however. Constrained by the nature of their employment which is quite peculiar and unique in itself. Ltd. it is for the mutual interest of both the seafarer and the employer why the employment status must be contractual only or for a certain period of time. III. prorated 13th month pay corresponding to eight (8) months of actual work. in Brent School. Whether Tanchico is a regular employee of petitioners. dismissal of the complaint. Filipino seamen are governed by the Rules and Regulations of the POEA. NLRC. the Court traced its ruling in a number of cases that seafarers are contractual. albeit initially. Their employment is governed by the contracts they sign everytime they are rehired and their employment is terminated when the contract expires. The Ruling of This Court The petition is partly meritorious. Whether Tanchico is entitled to 13th month pay. It reads: Section C. The Court of Appeals noted that petitioners were aware of Tanchico’s medical history yet they still deployed him for 14 years. And in no case should the contract of seamen be longer than 12 months. The Court of Appeals further ruled that Tanchico is entitled to disability benefits based on his 14 years of tenure with petitioners. Limited access to shore society during the employment will have an adverse impact on the seafarer. Petitioners went to this Court for relief on the following grounds: I. the Brent case has. Petitioners make much of the fact that they have been continually re-hired or their contracts renewed before the contracts expired (which has admittedly been going on . employees. our decision is hereby MODIFIED. C specifically provides that the contract of seamen shall be for a fixed period. Any extension of the Contract period shall be subject to the mutual consent of the parties. The Issues The issues are as follows: 1. Their employment is contractually fixed for a certain period of time. While this may be true. and 2. not regular. disability benefits and attorney’s fees. Overseas workers including seafarers fall under this type of employment which are governed by the mutual agreements of the parties. and attorney’s fee equivalent to 10% of the total award. Finally. Zamora. In this jurisdiction and as clearly stated in the Coyoca case. They fall under the exception of Article 280 whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. applicable decision of this Court and International Maritime Law when it ruled that private respondent. the Court cited overseas employment contract as an example of contracts where the concept of regular employment does not apply. The national. a seafarer. The Court of Appeals decided a question of substance not in accord with law when it held that the private respondent was entitled to greater disability benefit than he was [sic].
It does not provide for the payment of 13th month pay. in the present case. Amounts shall be pro-rated according to the ranks/ratings and period of time in which the SEAFARER served. The COMPANY shall provide. the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Tanchico was a regular employee of Petroleum Shipping. employee. Tanchico is not entitled to the benefit. Vacation begins on the day following arrival in Manila. PD 851 contemplates the situation of land-based workers. However. The Contract remained in force during Tanchico’s vacation period. injury. On 13th Month Pay The Court of Appeals premised its grant of 13th month pay on its ruling that Tanchico was a regular employee. the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that Tanchico is entitled to disability benefits of 18 days for every year of service. during the period of the Contract. We cannot accept petitioners’ contention. . Time off for illness. Since Tanchico received compensation during his vacation. Adorable where it held that a radio officer on board a vessel cannot be considered as a regular employee notwithstanding that the work he performs is necessary and desirable in the business of the company. there has been no increase in the legal minimum wage rates since 1970. Sundays and Holidays. SICKNESS-INJURY/DEATH A. injury. however. Every effort will be made to grant earned vacations promptly after eight (8) months of service. WHEREAS. calculated from date of departure from Manila and until date of return to Manila. They allege that the vacation period is not part of the period of employment. Vacations. Overtime. The Contract of Employment. it is necessary to further protect the level of real wages from ravages of world-wide inflation. NLRC which involves a claim for separation pay. As a Filipino seaman. Tanchico was a contractual. Sickness. Tanchico’s employment is governed by his Contract of Enlistment (“Contract”).  The coverage of the Contract includes Compensation. for operational reasons or due to personal requirements. Undeniably. Injury and Death. They can not be considered regular employees. the Christmas season is an opportune time for society to show its concern for the plight of the working masses so they may properly celebrate Christmas and New Year. likewise does not provide for the payment of 13th month pay. which is the standard employment contract of the POEA.for twenty (20) years). and not of seafarers who generally earn more than domestic land-based workers. vacation. Transportation and Travel Expense. petitioner is governed by the Rules and Regulations Governing Overseas Employment and the said Rules do not provide for separation or termination pay. In this connection. Again. 1. Subsistence and Living Quarters. By such circumstance they claim to have acquired regular status with all the rights and benefits appurtenant to it. temporary disability. petitioner’s contract did not provide for separation benefits. Book One of the Labor Code and the POEA Rules Governing Employment. to be paid in Manila. The Court of Appeals failed to consider that Tanchico’s employment terminated with the end of each contract. The Court of Appeals also ruled that petitioners are not exempt from the coverage of PD 851 which requires all employers to pay their employees a 13th month pay. not a regular.5) days for each thirty (30) days of continuous service. SEAFARER shall receive vacation compensation for each thirty (30) days of continuous service in accordance with the rates listed in Addendum No. x x x The Court reiterated the Millares ruling in Gu-Miro v. Living Allowance. The Contract provides: Article VIII The duration of the Contract was for eight months. hospital and medical expense in such amounts as the COMPANY shall determine but not lower than what the COMPANY would have to pay under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s requirements or the vessel’s flag state requirements (whichever is higher). it is important to note that neither does POEA standard employment contract for Filipino seamen provide for such benefits. it occasionally may be necessary to recall a SEAFARER early from vacation. Column (12). occupational illness. The Contract also provides: Article V VACATIONS Vacation days shall be earned at the rate of seven and one-half days (7. in the absence of any provision in his Contract governing the payment of 13th month pay. however. this Court held: Furthermore. Again. PD 851 does not apply to seafarers. The Contract has been approved by the POEA in accordance with Title I. Because of urgent fleet needs. this circumstance of continuous re-hiring was dictated by practical considerations that experienced crew members are more preferred. It is the COMPANY’s intention that each SEAFARER enjoy his full vacation period. leave of absence or stand-by shall not be considered service under the provisions of this Article. For period of less than thirty (30) days service. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals. On Disability Benefits Petitioners allege that Tanchico’s Contract ended on 13 October 1992 when he returned to Manila. In Coyoca v. the Court of Appeals assumed that Tanchico was a regular employee. Further. Petitioners were only given priority or preference because of their experience and qualifications but this does not detract the fact that herein petitioners are contractual employees. The WHEREAS clauses of PD 851 provides: WHEREAS. The Court of Appeals ruled that Tanchico’s employment was continuous and that his tenure with petitioners was for 14 years. x x x Hence. Insurance coverage for the SEAFARER against loss of life. vacations and compensation shall be reduced proportionately. Such contention is untenable. the Contract did not terminate on the day he returned to Manila. Thus. WHEREAS. permanent disability. the COMPANY shall have the right to advance or delay vacations to coincide with vessel repairs.
Petitioner. deployed to Taiwan Divina A... In the absence of concrete proof that Tanchico acquired his disability during his last deployment and not during his vacation. Wages.. HON. In case of death at sea or at a foreign port. COMPANY benefits shall be limited to a maximum of 18 days. SO ORDERED. We REINSTATE the 16 October 1996 Decision of Labor Arbiter Jose G. he must.B. the Taiwanese broker.. altercations.... hospital. assignment to another vessel or until date of repatriation to Manila if still disabled. or in such other case as may be determined by the COMPANY. Tanchico alleged that he was only paid under the Career Employment Incentive Plan.. Sunace International Management Services (Sunace). 1. No. 2006 Jan 25 3rd Division G. 161757 DECISION CARPIO MORALES.. We REVERSE and SET ASIDE the 25 January 2001 Decision and 7 May 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.. Montehermozo (Divina) as a domestic helper under a 12month contract effective February 1... 2000. 2000. Tanchico cannot claim that he only acquired the illness during his last deployment since the Medical Report he submitted to the NLRC showed that he has been hypertensive since 1983 and diabetic since 1987. Hang Rui Xiong. . notify the COMPANY’s Agent in the Philippines in order that the latter shall be able to certify as to his condition. as set forth in Addendum No. 1998. however. mphasis supplied) Indications that Tanchico was suffering from ischemia were detected on 8 December 1992 during Tanchico’s vacation period. We REMAND the case to the Labor Arbiter to determine if Florello Tanchico has been paid his disability benefits for 18 days in accordance with his Contract of Enlistment.. within 3 days from date thereof.. 54756. The following day or on February 15. Column (1). vice. SUNACE INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES... WHEREFORE. the following amounts shall be paid up to maximum of 365 days. the maximum number of days of COMPANY benefits may be extended beyond 120 days for a SEAFARER with over 80 months credited COMPANY service. 1997. he is only entitled to disability benefits for 18 days. every effort will be made on the part of the COMPANY to return the remains of a deceased SEAFARER to Manila at COMPANY expense. petitioners paid him disability benefits for 18 days in accordance with the Contract.. Labor Arbitration Associate Regina T.. ERNESTO S.. the tradition of the sea and requirements of the laws of such foreign port will be observed. a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. one Adelaide Perez. any wage payments made to him for a period during which he is entitled to benefits under any law by reason of death.R. Upon the expiration of such 120 days and if the SEAFARER is still disabled. All Ranks . surgical. Upon expiration of COMPANY benefits and if still disabled. SP No. Divina filed a complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against Sunace.... F.... In special instances and at the discretion of the COMPANY.. the SEAFARER is entitled to one hundred percent (100%) of his wages until he is declared fit or the degree of permanent disability has been assessed by the COMPANY’s physician for a maximum period of 120 days commencing on date of such disembarkation. unlawful acts.. Benefits under the COMPANY Disability Plan shall be made only to the extent and in such amounts as are equal to the differential between any payments which may be due SEAFARER under COMPANY’s obligation as set forth in the 1st paragraph of this Article VIII and 90 percent of SEAFARER’s last wage rate. It appears to have been concluded.. Petitioners claim that they already paid Tanchico his disability benefits for 18 days but he refused to sign the receipt. E. temporary or permanent disability. US $10 per day D. The SEAFARER acknowledges that even without signed receipts.. Second Division.. The deployment was with the assistance of a Taiwanese broker.. Medical. After disembarkation from a vessel.. Thus. Certification of disability required for payment of any disability benefits must be approved by a doctor appointed by the COMPANY and SEAFARER must be disabled seven (7) days or more to be eligible to benefits and sick leave status. If disability should occur while SEAFARER is on vacation. shall be the basis for any calculation of benefits due SEAFARER under this Article VIII. DINOPOL.. after which she returned to the Philippines on February 4.R. Quezon City and DIVINA A. negligence. If no payment has been made. we GRANT the petition. Shortly after her return or on February 14. The scheduled mandatory conference was reset. Arbitration Branch. or clinical treatment shall be recommended by a doctor approved by the COMPANY and SEAFARER must follow all medical advices. MONTEHERMOZO.. SEAFARER will not be entitled to disability benefit payments for disability resulting from his own misconduct.. versus NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION. the Labor Arbiter is DIRECTED to determine the amount Tanchico is entitled.. Divina continued working for her Taiwanese employer. but only to the extent of benefits due for the period of disability during which wages are paid. After her 12-month contract expired on February 1. If practical.. furnishing it with a copy of Divina’s complaint and directing it to appear for mandatory conference on February 28. INC. If SEAFARER is removed from a vessel for medical treatment he shall be entitled to receive a disability benefit equal to his monthly wage rate (or pro-rata thereof) from date of disembarkation until date of rejoining his vessel.. 2000. Ltd. NCR. Gavin issued Summons to the Manager of Sunace.. and the employer-foreign principal alleging that she was jailed for three months and that she was underpaid... 2000.. for two more years.: Petitioner. Edmund Wang. separation pay and 13th month pay. Respondents.. C. in his capacity as Labor Arbiter.... President of Jet Crown International Co. shall be deemed an advance payment of compensation benefits due to him under such law. NLRC.. De Vera dismissing the complaint for illegal dismissal and the claims for backwages. the SEAFARER shall be paid his wages equivalent to 18 days for every year of credited service. etc. J. This is a factual matter which this Court cannot resolve. This matter has to be remanded to the Labor Arbiter for resolution.. inclusive of the period of the above benefits.
00 NT36. claiming as follows. by decision of October 9. the same shall be reduced to writing and signed by the parties and their respective counsel (sic). does not deserve to be compensated for whatever kind of damages. judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondents SUNACE INTERNATIONAL SERVICES and its and while the amounts deducted in 1997 were refunded to her. .00 NT 9. Sunace.On April 6. nderscoring supplied) The Labor Arbiter rejected too Sunace’s argument that it is not liable on account of Divina’s execution of a Waiver and Quitclaim and an Affidavit of Desistance. before the Labor Arbiter.00 NT13. 2000. and public policy. Complainant could not anymore claim nor entitled for the refund of her 24 months savings as she already took back her saving already last year and the employer did not deduct any money from her salary. the complainant has NO cause of action against respondent SUNACE for monetary claims. What Sunace should have done was to write to POEA about the extension and its objection thereto. he is satisfied that they understand the terms and conditions of the settlement and that it was entered into freely voluntarily (sic) by them and the agreement is not contrary to law. A compromise agreement entered into by the parties not in the presence of the Labor Arbiter before whom the case is pending shall be approved by him. And because it did not. considering that she has been totally paid of all the monetary benefits due her under her Employment Contract to her full satisfaction. Edmund Wang. That respondent SUNACE respectfully reserves the right to file supplemental Verified Answer and/or Position Paper to substantiate its prayer for the dismissal of the above case against the herein respondent. 7. Sunace and Edmund Wang have not stopped communicating with each other and yet the matter of the contract’s extension and Sunace’s alleged non-consent thereto has not been categorically established.” To Sunace’s “. her foreign employer. the following amounts representing income tax and savings were deducted: Year Deduction for Income Tax 1997 1998 1999 NT10. . The Labor Arbiter. Furthermore. and public policy. AND BY WAY OF x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Reacting to Divina’s Position Paper. in accordance with a Fascimile Message from the respondent SUNACE’s employer. was not illegally dismissed by her employer. . There is no basis for the grant of tax refund to the complainant as the she finished her one year contract and hence.00 Deduction for Savings NT23. those deducted in 1998 and 1999 were not. copy furnished the complainant herself. 2000 an “.00 NT36.100. On even date. the dispositive portion of which reads: Wherefore. answer to complainant’s position paper. . Ltd. the tax deducted from her salary is in compliance with the Taiwanese law. The sovereign power of taxation of a state is recognized under international law and among sovereign states. Sunace filed on April 25. The rationales behind the award of tax refund and payment of attorney’s fees is not to enrich the complainant but to compensate him for actual injury suffered. answer to complainant’s position paper. and Divina in fact executed a Waiver/Quitclaim and Release of Responsibility and an Affidavit of Desistance. hence. by its Proprietor/General Manager Maria Luisa Olarte. And because no consideration is indicated in the documents. which respondent SUNACE has no control and complainant has to obey and this Honorable Office has no authority/jurisdiction to intervene because the power to tax is a sovereign power which the Taiwanese Government is supreme in its own territory. Jet Crown International Co. copy of each document was annexed to said “. if any.000.500. Complainant did not suffer injury. 6. Hence. morals. answer to complainant’s position paper” alleging that Divina’s 2-year extension of her contract was without its knowledge and consent. 2000. She could only lay claim over the tax refund or much more be awarded of damages such as attorney’s fees as said reliefs are available only when the dismissal of a migrant worker is without just valid or lawful cause as defined by law or contract. . quoted verbatim: COMPLAINANT IS NOT ENTITLED FOR THE REFUND OF HER 24 MONTHS SAVINGS 3..” Divina filed a 2-page reply. we strike them down as contrary to law. Waiver and Quitclaim and Affidavit of Desistance. if after confronting the parties. . Observed the Labor Arbiter: Should the parties arrive at any agreement as to the whole or any part of the dispute. Divina filed her Position Paper claiming that under her original one-year contract and the 2-year extended contract which was with the knowledge and consent of Sunace. He accordingly decided in favor of Divina. COMPLAINANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO REFUND OF HER 14 MONTHS TAX AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY’S FEES 4.300. The settlement shall be approved by the Labor Arbiter after being satisfied that it was voluntarily entered into by the parties and after having explained to them the terms and consequences thereof.450. a xerographic copy of which is herewith attached as ANNEX “2” hereof. it is presumed to have consented to the extension and should be liable for anything that resulted thereform (sic). particularly the complainants. however. filed its Verified Answer and Position Paper.00.000. Hang Rui Xiong and the Taiwanese broker. refuting Sunace’s disclaimer of knowledge of the extension of her contract and without saying anything about the Release. without. it had no liability attaching to any claim arising therefrom. hence. rejected Sunace’s claim that the extension of Divina’s contract for two more years was without its knowledge and consent in this wise: We reject Sunace’s submission that it should not be held responsible for the amount withheld because her contract was extended for 2 more years without its knowledge and consent because as Annex “B” shows. . morals.
or by stipulation or by provision of law. And they did not deduct any money from her salary. and heirs. the petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED. not the other way around. the only basis of a finding of continuous communication. by Summons issued on February 15. the act of the principal extending complainant (sic) employment contract necessarily bound it. As we contact with her employer.00 in its peso equivalent at the date of payment. it is safe to assume that it was sent to enlighten Sunace who had been directed. As agent of the foreign principal. The petition failed to allege facts constitutive of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public respondent amounting to lack of jurisdiction when the NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s finding that petitioner Sunace International Management Services impliedly consented to the extension of the contract of private respondent Divina A. 2000. The February 21. that Sunace continually communicated with the foreign “principal” (sic) and therefore was aware of and had consented to the execution of the extension of the contract is misplaced. she did not say anything about her saving in police station. Via petition for certiorari. Sunace elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which dismissed it outright by Resolution of November 12. (Underescoring supplied) On appeal of Sunace. Thank you and best regards. 2000 telefax message from the Taiwanese broker to Sunace. Article 1924 of the New Civil Code reading The agency is revoked if the principal directly manages the business entrusted to the agent.’” Contrary to the Court of Appeals finding. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Labor Arbiter and NLRC’s finding that Sunace knew of and impliedly consented to the extension of Divina’s 2-year contract. Furthermore. 2000 for a mandatory conference following Divina’s filing of the complaint on February 14. by Resolution of April 30. there was an implied revocation of its agency relationship with its foreign principal when. SO ORDERED.) Edmund Wang President The finding of the Court of Appeals solely on the basis of the above-quoted telefax message. after the termination of the original employment contract. It contains nothing about the extension or the petitioner’s consent thereto. The message does not provide evidence that Sunace was privy to the new contract executed after the expiration on February 1. therefore.owner ADELAIDA PERGE. In light of the foregoing discussions. Respecting the Court of Appeals following dictum: As agent of its foreign principal. The knowledge of the principal-foreign employer cannot. emphasis on words in small letters and underscoring supplied) Its Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court by Resolution of January 14. As such. 2002. (Emphasis on words in capital letters in the original. to appear on February 28. MONTEHERMOZO the sum of NT91. Contracts take effect only between the parties. it and its “owner” cannot be held solidarily liable for any of Divina’s claims arising from the 2-year employment extension.” Grave abuse of discretion is not present in the case at bar. As can be seen from that letter communication. she took back her saving already last years. complainant had to engage the services of counsel.” It thus concluded that “[a]s agent of the foreign principal. both in their personal capacities and as agent of Hang Rui Xiong/Edmund Wang to jointly and severally pay complainant DIVINA A. as refund for the amounts which she is hereby adjudged entitled to as earlier discussed plus 10% thereof as attorney’s fees since compelled to litigate. ‘petitioner cannot profess ignorance of such extension as obviously. the act of its principal extending [Divina’s] employment contract necessarily bound it. There being no substantial proof that Sunace knew of and consented to be bound under the 2-year employment contract extension. thus applies. it too is a misapplication. ACCORDINGLY. as Sunace correctly points out. (sgd. the alleged continuous communication was with the Taiwanese broker Wang. employer Xiong. the full text of which reads: The petition for certiorari faces outright dismissal. . As the New Civil Code provides. Sunace filed the present petition for review on certiorari. 2000. The theory of imputed knowledge ascribes the knowledge of the agent. 1998 of the original contract. affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s decision. reads verbatim: xxxx Regarding to Divina. It is undisputed that petitioner was continually communicating with private respondent’s foreign employer (sic). except in case where the rights and obligations arising from the contract are not transmissible by their nature. If her employer said yes! we will get it back for her. 2004. Sunace. the foreign principal directly negotiated with Divina and entered into a new and separate employment contract in Taiwan. SO ORDERED. Or she will call back her employer to check it again. it cannot be said to be privy thereto. to the principal. a misapplication of the theory of imputed knowledge. be imputed to its agent Sunace. It went on to state that “It is undisputed that [Sunace] was continually communicating with [Divina’s] foreign employer. As Sunace points out in its Reply filed before the Court of Appeals. the NLRC. their assigns. Parenthetically. That Sunace and the Taiwanese broker communicated regarding Divina’s allegedly withheld savings does not necessarily mean that Sunace ratified the extension of the contract. since the telefax message is dated February 21. “petitioner cannot profess ignorance of such extension as obviously.950. not with the foreign employer Xiong. it was just an information given to the petitioner that the private respondent had t[aken] already her savings from her foreign employer and that no deduction was made on her salary. dealing directly with third persons. consideration of the validity of the Waiver and Affidavit of Desistance which Divina executed in favor of Sunace is rendered unnecessary. 2000. 2002. [Sunace] cannot profess ignorance of such an extension as obviously. Montehermozo. the act of the principal extending complainant (sic) employment contract necessarily bound it.
00.885 x P12 = P171. Aggrieved. with a corresponding salary of US$370. the labor arbiter rendered a decision holding that the modification of respondent’s employment contract is not allowed under Section 10 of Republic Act No.: This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the September 27.00 Less: Unpaid placement fee Equals: Total unpaid salary Add: Attorney’s fees or 5% of the total unpaid salary PLACEWELL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION. respondent filed a sworn Complaint for monetary claims against petitioner alleging that when he arrived at the job site. the appealed decision is Vacated and Set Aside. the NLRC set aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. No. which set aside the November 20. Petitioner. premises considered. Gamolo. Montehermozo against petitioner is DISMISSED. 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the total overtime pay he received is more or less equivalent to the amount he ought to have received if the original contracted rate of US$370. the labor arbiter awarded respondent attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the total judgment award for being compelled to hire a counsel to protect his rights and interests. for failure of petitioner to show just cause for the demotion of respondent. 2000 of the NLRC. In lieu thereof. respondent pleaded for his retention and consented to accept a lower salary of SR 800. SP No. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads: WHEREFORE. The records show that on August 15.424. petitioner Placewell International Services Corporation (PISC) deployed respondent Ireneo B.00 per month. 8042. SAAD retained respondent until his return to the Philippines two years after.00 to SR 800.00 x 24 months = P230. their cause of communication.A. Private respondent.00 x (rate of exchange at the time of actual payment) x 24 months = Total salary in the original contract Less: Salary as Modified or SR 800 x P12. versus IRENEO B.780.R. SO ORDERED. 8042). dismissing the above-entitled case for lack of cause of action. 2006 Jun 261st Division G. The assailed Resolution dated 24 November 2000 of the NLRC. he and his fellow Filipino workers were required to sign another employment contract written in Arabic under the constraints of losing their jobs if they refused. set aside resolution dated November 24.00 per month.620.00 per month. Since respondent rendered one hour of overtime work per day for only 18 months. 2002. At the job site. The exchange rate shall be that prevailing at the time of actual payment.00 Less: Unauthorized Deductions or SR 4.00 P 58. However. to wit: WHEREFORE. The appellate court held that there was a diminution of respondent’s salary – from a . On November 27. he received only SR 590. premises considered. that he was not given his overtime pay despite rendering nine hours of work everyday. he should have received the original contracted salary of US$370. SO ORDERED. SO ORDERED. judgment is hereby rendered ORDERING respondent PLACEWELL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION to pay complainant IRENEO B. Finally. The complaint of respondent Divina A.00 per month instead of the new rate given by SAAD. No. the petition is GRANTED. respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 in the Court of Appeals which set aside the Resolution of the NLRC. 169973 DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. It was also noted that respondent did not refute petitioner’s allegation regarding the non-payment of placement and other processing fees prior to deployment. Thus. No. thus. that for the entire duration of the new contract.00 was used. As to the alleged incompetence of respondent. 2002 Decision of Labor Arbiter Arturo L.R. Camote to work as building carpenter for SAAD Trading and Contracting Co. Thus. PLACEWELL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION is hereby ordered jointly and severally liable to pay petitioner. a new judgment is rendered. respondent was allegedly found incompetent by his foreign employer. CAMOTE. and reinstated the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated May 31. thus the latter decided to terminate his services. On appeal by the petitioner. premises considered. IRENEO B.00 per month in clear violation of Section 10 of R. the dispositive portion of which follows: WHEREFORE. J. action because of difficulties in rate of US$370. the appellate court granted the petition. CAMOTE the amount of PESOS: TWO HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR ONLY (P215. and reinstated with modifications the Decision of the labor arbiter.400. 2002. CAMOTE the following: Per POEA approved contract or $370. 1999.00) representing underpayment of wages and attorney’s fees. the appellate court noted that said allegation has not been substantiated hence should not be given any credence. The challenged resolutions of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 8042 (R. the petition is GRANTED. Respondent. The labor arbiter also found that there is no differential as far as respondent’s overtime pay is concerned considering that he was given overtime pay based on the new rate of SR 800. that he and his co-workers sought assistance from the Philippine Embassy but they did not succeed in pursuing On May 31. 77145. and not the entire 24 months as claimed. (SAAD) at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for a contract duration of two years.WHEREFORE. 2002 Resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and reinstated with modifications the May 31.A. 2001. Fifth Division is SET ASIDE and the Decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 31 May 2002 is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED with modifications.
8042 explicitly prohibits the substitution or alteration to the prejudice of the worker. CONTRARY TO LAW. 176169 DECISION Tinga. and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted. The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court. as amended. after due trial. Davao del Sur found the evidence presented by the prosecution to be more credible than that presented by the defense and thus held petitioner liable for the offense of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code. he is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees. Laches has been defined as the failure of or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence. we find that there was no proper dismissal of respondent by SAAD. but failed to do so. SO ORDERED. 8042 filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Davao del Sur on 5 October 1998 for acts committed by petitioner and one Dolores Placa in or about January 1993. 2008 Nov 14 2nd Division G.] the said accused being a non-licensee or non-holder of authority to engage in the recruitment of workers abroad to the damage and prejudice of the herein offended party. unlawfully and feloniously recruit Nila Panilag for employment abroad[. the solidary liability of petitioner with SAAD for respondent’s money claims continues in accordance with Section 10 of R. SO ORDERED. said accused is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from FOUR YEARS as minimum to FIVE YEARS as maximum. the unauthorized alteration in the employment contract of respondent. terms. Thus. However. rather. for the peace of society.00. its application is controlled by equitable considerations. we find that the doctrine of laches finds no application in this case. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG. Province of Davao del Sur. particularly the diminution in his salary from US$370. The doctrine of laches is based upon grounds of public policy which requires. he can not be adjudged guilty of laches. the party must have been afforded an opportunity to pursue his claim in order that the delay may sufficiently constitute laches. that if respondent was indeed forced to sign the new contract.) No.00 to SR 800. the same is deleted for lack of factual and legal basis. It cannot be worked to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice. did then and there [willfully]. Laches is not concerned with the mere lapse of time. the original POEAapproved employment contract of respondent subsists despite the so-called new agreement with SAAD. Thus.00 Philippine Currency [sic] as placement fee[. 18. . This case originated from an Information for Illegal Recruitment as defined under Sections 6 and 7 of Republic Act (R. of employment contracts already approved and verified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from the time of actual signing thereof by the parties up to and including the period of the expiration of the same without the approval of the DOLE.R. and since it is an equitable doctrine. Petitioner’s contention that respondent is guilty of laches is without basis.] demand and receive the amount of P6. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court. morals and public policy. the discouragement of stale claims. ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR. Conversely. Thus. No. his claims are now barred by laches because respondent never informed petitioner of any problem at the job site until two years after his deployment. the doctrine of laches presumes that the party guilty of negligence had the opportunity to do what should have been done. Thus. premises considered. versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Br. On 3 July 2002. In the instant case. this petition. we note that the appellate court did not state any basis for its award. and conditions of his employment. with regard to Unauthorized Deductions amounting to P171. could or should have been done earlier. R. is void for violating the POEAapproved contract which set the minimum standards. Consequently. the instant petition is PARTLY GRANTED. in the Municipality of Sta. Digos City. the Court hereby finds accused ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of Illegal Recruitment and. then.780. 2005 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the amount of P171. or to assert a right within reasonable time. Respondent.Equals: Total Money Claims. Petitioner.00 should be deleted for lack of legal or factual basis. the Regional Trial Court (RTC).500.00 per month. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. conspiring together. The labor arbiter and the Court of Appeals did not err in awarding attorney’s fees to respondent. each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. as amended. The Information reads: That on [sic] or about the month of [January 1993].: This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioner Rosario Nasi-Villar assailing the Decision dated 27 June 2005 and Resolution dated 28 November 2006 of the Court of Appeals.A. the “termination” of respondent was clearly a ploy to pressure him to agree to a lower wage rate for continued employment. if the said party did not have the occasion to assert the right. Cruz. Hence.780 representing Unauthorized Deductions is DELETED for lack of basis. The said side agreement cannot supersede her standard employment contract approved by the POEA. that the appellate court’s award for unauthorized deductions in the amount of P171. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches. 77145 dated September 27. confederating with and mutually helping one another through fraudulent representation and deceitful machination. Moreover. Bonto-Perez that the subsequently executed side agreement of an overseas contract worker with her foreign employer which reduced her salary below the amount approved by the POEA is void because it is against our existing laws. 8042. SP No. in accordance with the penalty set forth under the Labor Code. Petitioner avers that respondent failed to substantiate the allegation that he was forced to enter into the new employment contract with SAAD which proves that the new contract was actually voluntarily entered and agreed upon between said parties. we held in Chavez v. respondent filed his claim within the three-year prescriptive period for the filing of money claims set forth in Article 291 of the Labor Code from the time the cause of action accrued.780. J.A. WHEREFORE.A. warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto has either abandoned it or declined to assert it. No. It is settled that in actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and incur expenses to protect his rights and interests. the aforenamed accused. thus.R. Applying the same rule in the case at bar. that respondent is not entitled to attorney’s fees.
A. Petitioner has not offered any argument or proof that countervails such findings. in particular Art. 39(c) of the same Code. Dolores Placa.00. There is no violation of the prohibition against ex post facto law nor a retroactive application of R. Province of Davao del Sur. as alleged by petitioner. Provided that any person or entity which. The appellate court affirmed with modification the decision of the RTC. whether for profit or not.000.” The trial court found these two elements had been proven in the case at bar. this Court makes no pronouncement thereon. nonetheless have provisions defining offenses and prescribing penalties for their violation operate prospectively. in relation to Art. where under Art. but alleged in its body acts which are punishable under the Labor Code.000. 13(b) thereof. two elements must be shown. 39. thus: WHEREFORE. 38. While conceding that there was an erroneous designation of the law violated by petitioner. it is of no concern to the accused what the technical name of the crime of which he stands charged is. contract services. 8042 cannot be given retroactive effect and that the decision of the RTC constitutes a violation of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law. R. 39 of the Labor Code. Since R. 7(c) of R. while not penal in nature. As it was proven that petitioner had committed the acts she was charged with. Thus. 39 of the Labor Code. the violation of the Code is penalized with imprisonment of not less than four (4) years nor more than eight (8) years or a fine of not less than P20.00 and not more than P100. following the principle that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review. The Court of Appeals. it made its findings on the basis of the provisions of the Labor Code and found petitioner liable under Art. In its Comment dated 7 September 2007. With respect to accused Ma. No. What was applicable in 1993 is the Labor Code. in the manner stated. locally or abroad. in relation to Art. 13(b). 8042. and penalized under Art. 38. she was properly convicted under the Labor Code. then he ought to be punished and punished adequately.A. namely: (1) the person charged with the crime must have undertaken recruitment activities. City of Digos.A. 8042 penalizes illegal recruitment with a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years and a fine not less than P200. The petition is denied. Accordingly. noted that the criminal acts alleged to have been committed happened sometime in 1993. and (2) said person does not have a license or authority to do so. No. decreeing in the dispositive portion. whatever may be the name of the crime which those acts constitute. The evidence on record substantiates the charge to a moral certainty. 38. transporting. in relation to Art. there being no substantial proof presented to justify a grant of civil damages. No. is considered engaged in recruitment and placement. as amended. the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court.A. Thus. 8042. we held that the real nature of the crime charged is determined. Petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to consider that R. the Court of Appeals declared that petitioner should have been charged under the Labor Code. 13(b) of the Labor Code.On the civil aspect of the case. Petitioner concludes that the charge and conviction of an offense carrying a penalty higher than that provided by the law at the time of its commission constitutes a violation of the prohibition against ex post facto law and the retroactive application of R. finding Rosario Nasi-Villar guilty beyond reasonable doubt o the crime of Illegal Recruitment is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that Rosario Nasi-Villar is ORDERED to pay Nila Panilag the sum of P10. hiring. 13(b) defines “recruitment and placement” as “any act of canvassing. Petitioner was charged in 1998 under an Information that erroneously designated the offense as covered by R. while there was an erroneous specification of the law violated by petitioner in the Information. On 28 November 2006. the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner had performed the acts constituting the offense defined in Art. . petitioner argues that law cannot be used as the basis of filing a criminal action for illegal recruitment. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) argues that the Court of Appeals’ conviction of petitioner under the Labor Code is correct. petitioner can only be charged and found guilty under the Labor Code which was in force in 1993 when the acts attributed to her were committed. and in a very real sense.A. aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was when committed or changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when committed. or procuring workers. among others. 8042.00 as temperate damages. From a legal point of view.00 nor more than P500. the OSG concludes.A.A. offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons. 8042. was approved only on 7 June 1995 and took effect on 15 July 1995. The basic rule is that a criminal act is punishable under the law in force at the time of its commission. The allegations in the Information clearly charge petitioner with illegal recruitment as defined in Art. in its Decision dated 27 June 2005. In Gabriel v. No. petitioner filed the instant petition for review. SO ORDERED. An ex post facto law is one which. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals raising as sole issue the alleged error by the trial court in finding her guilty of illegal recruitment on the basis of the trial court’s appreciation of the evidence presented by the prosecution. in any manner. and not under R. Hence. the OSG stresses that the designation of the offense in the Information is not determinative of the nature and character of the crime charged against her but the acts alleged in the Information. On the other hand. utilizing. in relation to Art. What controls is not the designation but the description of the offense charged. 13(b) and punished by Art. enlisting.000. Thus. Br. 8042 did not yet exist in January 1993 when the crime was allegedly committed. as alleged in the body of the Information. No. No. However. Art. 18. If the accused performed the acts alleged in the body of the information. the CA was correct in affirming the RTC’s imposition of the penalty for simple illegal recruitment under the Labor Code. or any of the activities enumerated in Article 34 of the Labor Code. Court of Appeals. Thus. promising. Issue an alias warrant of arrest for the apprehension of said accused. No. contracting. No. 38. Penal laws and laws which. 8042.000. 8042. under which petitioner was charged. and not under R. not from the caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the law alleged to have been violated—these being conclusions of law—but by the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. In the case at bar. the appellate court denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. No.000. the penalty of imprisonment provided in the Labor Code was raised or increased by R.00 or both. in view of all the foregoing. 11th Judicial Region. and Art. We find no reversible error in the decision arrived at by the Court of Appeals.A.A. Sec. No. or advertising for employment. SO ORDERED. 8042. To prove illegal recruitment. and includes referrals.A. who is still at large. the records of this case are hereby sent to the archives to be retrieved in the event that said accused would be apprehended.
No. Ventis Maritime Corporation (Ventis) hired Agapito C. Under the Employment Contract. Petitioners. the petition is DENIED. Other claims are dismissed for lack of merit. Agoncillo. Respondent’s wife was discharged from the hospital on 11 July 1998. The vessel’s Master allowed respondent to leave provided that he would rejoin the vessel when it returns to Singapore and Malaysia on 2 July 1998. SO ORDERED. Labor Arbiter Ermita Abrasaldo. judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Ventis Maritime Corporation and Belsally Shipping S. SO ORDERED. 64391. The NLRC noted that respondent’s clearance. The proceedings before the trial court and the appellate court did not violate the prohibition against ex post facto law nor involved a retroactive application of R.A. R. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent’s separation from service was of his own doing. including the penalties provided therein.84 representing his unpaid salary and other accrued benefits for the month of June 1998. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and AGAPITO C. No. respondent informed Ventis that he could not leave his wife to rejoin the vessel. The Ruling of the NLRC In its 21 June 2000 Decision. Agoncillo.2008 Oct 6 1st Division G. given by the Japan Maritime Safety Agency and acknowledged by the ship’s Master. 8042. 8042 amended pertinent provisions of the Labor Code and gave a new definition of the crime of illegal recruitment and provided for its higher penalty. the NLRC set aside the Labor Arbiter’s Decision. No.Cuyuca (Labor Arbiter) ruled. respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter only awarded respondent’s accrued benefits until 24 June 1998. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent was not illegally dismissed from employment. Ventis alleged that respondent committed a serious breach of contract and prayed. the amount of US$767. 8042 that said law. . Two days before his scheduled return to the vessel. non-payment of salaries. The Labor Arbiter ruled that as Third Officer and fourth in command of a vessel.A. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent admitted that he failed to finish his contract because he failed to rejoin the vessel as he had agreed with the vessel’s Master.. Ten percent of the amount awarded as and for attorney’s fees. versus COURT OF APPEALS. WHEREFORE. He was replaced by one Celino Dio.A. vacation pay. among others. J. overtime pay. A law can never be considered ex post facto as long as it operates prospectively since its strictures would cover only offenses committed after and not before its enactment. stated that respondent would disembark for VENTIS MARITIME CORPORATION and BELSALLY SHIPPING. AGONCILLO. Respondent was deployed on board MV Orchid Bridge (formerly MV Bangkok Bridge).: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review assailing the 30 June 2003 Decision and 9 October 2003 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The assailed Decision dated 27 June 2005 and Resolution dated 28 November 2006 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. The contract period was for ten months. No. would take effect retroactively. 8042 a retroactive application since both courts passed upon petitioner’s case only under the aegis of the Labor Code. 160338 DECISION CARPIO. (Belsally). MV Orchid Bridge docked in the port of Manila. S.A. The NLRC ruled that respondent’s acts were justified under the circumstances. respondent already sent a message to the Master that he could not rejoin the vessel and recommended someone to take his place. As such.R. The NLRC ruled that under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between All Japan Seamen’s Union/Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines and Taiyo Kabushi Kaisha represented by Ventis.Penal laws cannot be given retroactive effect. Ventis filed a Complaint for Disciplinary Action against respondent before the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). to pay complainant Agapito C. Respondent asked permission from the vessel’s Master to allow him to visit his wife who was confined at the Seaman’s Hospital in Manila for an operation.A. premises considered. Petitioners countered that respondent’s act violated the Seaman’s Oath of Undertaking which requires the employee to serve his employer at least a one-month notice before he terminates his contract. Respondent appealed from the Labor Arbiter’s Decision before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). subsistence allowance of US$33 a month. The Antecedent Facts On 8 January 1998. No. There is no indication in R. Respondent obtained a cash advance of US$500 prior to his disembarkation. The Ruling of the Labor Arbiter In her 15 February 1999 Decision.A. On 24 July 1998. supervisory allowance of US$228 a month. The NLRC ruled that respondent’s absence from 2 July 1998 until 11 July 1998 hardly constituted abandonment as to warrant his dismissal from the service. and other monetary claims before the Labor Arbiter against Ventis and Belsally (petitioners). Respondents. as follows: WHEREFORE. he was not entitled to payment of his salaries for the unexpired portion of his contract or the three-month salary under Republic Act No. During the pendency of the case. respondent’s duties and responsibilities could not just be delegated to any member of the crew.. for the cancellation of respondent’s name from the POEA’s Seaman’s Book of Registry and for his permanent disqualification from the POEA’s Overseas Program. Jr. respondent was entitled to a basic monthly salary of US$650. The NLRC ruled that respondent did not abandon his work but sought the permission of the vessel’s Master before disembarking. guaranteed overtime pay of US$484 a month. except when they are favorable to the accused. S. (respondent) as a Third Officer for its principal Belsally Shipping.R. respondent may take a leave of absence during his spouse’s illness. 8042 in any way. SP No. On 24 June 1998. and vacation leave with pay of US$130. Jr. JR.A. Neither did the trial court nor the appellate court give R. The NLRC ruled that before the vessel’s departure on 2 July 1998.
the company shall make every effort to repatriate the seafarer concerned as quickly as possible and pay for the repatriation if seafarer is repatriated. In its 29 November 2000 Order. The Court of Appeals likewise rejected petitioners’ claim that respondent abandoned his post as Third Officer when he failed to return to the vessel on the agreed date.00 as moral damages. Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the NLRC’s Decision. finding petitioners guilty of illegal dismissal. Judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondents to jointly and severally pay: 1. it was respondent who failed to return to his work. In short. the Court of Appeals affirmed the NLRC’s Decision. Aris and eventually allowed by the vessel’s Master on the condition that he would return to the vessel on 2 July 1998. Thus. he failed to rejoin the vessel as per his agreement with the vessel’s Master. P50. two requirements must be met: the employee must be afforded due process.A. 09699-99. The Court of Appeals ruled that for a dismissal to be valid. in this case. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. Instead. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals. When MV Orchid Bridge docked in Manila. Virgilio R. He was not terminated from his employment. the NLRC denied their motion. Substantial evidence means that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. In its 9 October 2003 Resolution. are directed to reimburse private respondent Agapito Agoncillo his placement fee with twelve percent (12%) interest per annum conformably with Sec. The Court of Appeals ruled that when his services were terminated. respondent informed Ventis that he could not rejoin the vessel because his wife was still in the hospital. and 3. His disembarkation was out of the contract but it was guaranteed by Capt.humanitarian reasons. complainant his salaries equivalent to the unexpired portion of his contract. respondent did not seek to extend his leave of absence. The Court of Appeals justified its ruling by citing the CBA between All Japan Seamen’s Union/Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines and Taiyo Kabushi Kaisha which states: When the spouse or child. The Ruling of this Court The petition has merit. he just informed Ventis that he would not be able to rejoin the vessel as scheduled.000. We find that the findings of the Labor Arbiter are more in accord with the records of the case. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its 30 June 2003 Decision. 10 of RA 8042. or in the case of a single man. The claim for reinstatement or payment of separation pay is denied because based on the records. He was not repatriated. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ Decision reads: WHEREFORE. or when it is perceived that far too much is concluded. Additionally. and the dismissal must be for a valid cause. The Court of Appeals sustained the NLRC’s finding that two days before he was expected to join the vessel. Instead. dies or falls dangerously ill (and when the company can confirm it) whil[e] the seafarer is abroad. a parent. The dispositive portion of the NLRC’s Decision reads: WHEREFORE. The Court of Appeals further sustained the NLRC that petitioners should have allowed respondent to extend his leave for humanitarian reasons. respondent immediately filed a complaint . The Court of Appeals sustained the NLRC’s finding that respondent was dismissed without being informed of the cause of his dismissal and without being afforded the opportunity to present his side. However. The Issue The sole issue in this case is whether petitioners illegally dismissed respondent from employment. This Court will not uphold erroneous conclusions as when it finds insufficient or insubstantial evidence on record to support the factual findings. 2. respondent asked for a leave of absence to attend to his wife who was then in the hospital. respondent was not ordered to disembark. S. However. the Court of Appeals erred in applying the CBA in this case. Factual issues may be considered by this Court when the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Labor Arbiter are inconsistent with those of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals. the NLRC ruled that respondent’s dismissal was tainted with bad faith. petitioners Ventis Maritime Corporation and Bel Sally Shipping. the petition before this Court on the ground that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in disregarding the findings of the Labor Arbiter that respondent abandoned his post. Hence. complainant is a contract worker with a fixed period of employment of ten (10) months. the Court of Appeals denied their motion. The Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission dated June 21. The Court of Appeals ruled that the CBA clearly afforded respondent to take a leave of absence during his wife’s illness. In this case. The NLRC stated that respondent should also be allowed to extend his leave for humanitarian reasons. inferred. He did not try to use his emergency leave. There was also no evidence on record to show that respondent’s wife was dangerously ill that would warrant the application of the CBA. two days before his supposed return to the vessel. The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent was not illegally dismissed from employment. this instant Petition for Certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or a Temporary Restraining Order is hereby DENIED. Respondent did not even claim that he had to take an extended leave because his wife was dangerously ill. The Court of Appeals sustained the NLRC. is hereby AFFIRMED. The general rule is that factual findings of the labor officials are conclusive and binding when supported by substantial evidence. respondent informed the ship’s Master that he could not rejoin the vessel and he recommended someone to take his place. The NLRC ruled otherwise. Attorney’s fee of 10% of the total award hereof. The claim for exemplary damages is dismissed for lack of sufficient basis. Finally. SO ORDERED. the appealed decision is set aside. SO ORDERED. or deduced from the bare or incomplete facts appearing of record. 2000 in NLRC NCR CA No.
a Greek shipping company. On March 21. While on board the M/V Commander.R. it was denied by the appellate court on September 5. the August 31. as gleaned from the records. Book IV of the POEA Rules And Regulations Governing Overseas Employment provides: SEC. such as drunkenness.00 was raised to US$1. there is no basis for the finding of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals that respondent did not abandon his work and was instead terminated from employment. or a total monthly compensation of US$674. petitioner filed with the Arbitration Branch. as amended. No. The Court notes that on 24 July 1998. seven (7) members of the crew of M/V Commander (including petitioner) submitted a request to Captain Kandylis for early repatriation because of family problems. unilaterally altered the terms and conditions of the employment contract. Actually this was a promotion considering that his initial monthly pay of US$674. S. petitioner. a local manning agent of Sea Justice. 1996. the Labor Arbiter dismissed petitioner’s complaint.A. We REINSTATE the 15 February 1999 Decision of the Labor Arbiter. S. a ground for dismissal from the service under his contract of employment. However. On July 18. abandonment of post.. respondent’s act is contrary to the allegation of abandonment.00. Rule VII. Appendix 2 of the POEA Standard Employment Contract for Filipino migrant workers contains a list of offenses with corresponding sanctions.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.00 for 120 hours. 1998 decision of the Labor Arbiter is hereby set aside and new one entered ordering respondent Prudential Shipping to pay complainant the amount of US$258.A. Respondents then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The facts of the case. According to the Court of Appeals. SP No. On November 18. the ship’s master. 1996. Captain Nikolaos Kandylis. the NLRC. and disorderly behavior.A. The records show that the POEA case filed by Ventis was resolved against respondent.00.00 per month. 2002. National Capital Region a complaint for illegal dismissal and underpayment of wages against Medbulk Maritime Management Corporation and Sea Justice. assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 21. worked as a seaman in the Medbulk Maritime Management Corporation. The POEA decision became final and executory on 12 May 2005. Hence.R. premises considered. SP No. Captain Kandylis received several derogatory reports against petitioner. Their requests were granted. Under the contract. Later. Hence. These were duly recorded in the ship’s logbook. (d) Drunkenness. Petitioner contends that Captain Kandylis has a grudge against him.00. 2002 in CA-G. respondent’s complaint for illegal dismissal was filed only on 27 October 1998. we SET ASIDE the 30 June 2003 Decision and 9 October 2003 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2. Section 2. 22 days after respondent was supposed to return but failed to join MV Orchid Bridge. – Commission by the worker of any of the offenses enumerated below or of similar offenses while working overseas shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions as the Administration may deem necessary: xxx (c) Desertion or abandonment. petitioner will serve on board the vessel M/V Commander for a term of twelve (12) months with a monthly basic salary of US$470. Grounds for Disciplinary Action. S. in its Decision. 155338 DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. Petitioner then returned to the Philippines. 1996. WHEREFORE.. SO ORDERED. the instant petition raising the sole issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that petitioner’s dismissal from employment was for cause. as amended. After disembarking. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. SO ORDERED. Petitioner. Respondents.00 as underpayment of wages from September to November 1886 and US$10. Deogracias Cansino. 2002. versus PRUDENTIAL SHIPPING AND MANAGEMENT CORPORATION (in substitution for MEDBULK MARITIME MANAGEMENT CORPORATION) and SEA JUSTICE. are: . holding that his employment was validly terminated. Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied. especially where the laws of the host country prohibit intoxicating drinks. the reason why he entered in the DEOGRACIAS CANSINO. NLRC. set aside the Labor Arbiter’s judgment. On appeal. The contract was then processed and approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). On the other hand. insubordination. the filing of the illegal dismissal case was an afterthought on the part of respondent. This list includes drunkenness. 57111.00 representing his salary from December 1996 to July 1997. Obviously. Ventis filed a complaint before the POEA against respondent. The POEA found respondent liable for abandonment of post and imposed upon him the penalty of suspension from participating in its overseas employment program for six months. On August 31. pursuant to a contract of employment.R.164. The records state otherwise. fixed overtime pay of US$141. they were furnished hotel accommodations and repatriation expenses. thus: ACCORDINGLY.2007 Feb 201st Division G. He was found liable for drunkenness.000. J. and vacation leave with pay of US$63. 64391 affirming the 21 June 2000 Decision of the NLRC. the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision granting respondents’ petition and setting aside the NLRC Decision. Petitioner’s position as seaman was changed to pumpman. 1998.for illegal dismissal against petitioners. xxx (g) Creating trouble at the worksite or in the vessel. On August 10.
unlawfully and criminally recruit. Metro Manila.164. her cargo.00 to P20. and despite the payment of the said fees. National Labor Relations Commission. did then and there willfully. Victorino U. and that the “Conformity for Sobriety” which every member of the crew was made to sign was violated every day. Case No. exacting and collecting from the said private complainants cash bonds and/or performance bonds in amounts ranging from P10. we held that serious misconduct in the form of drunkenness and disorderly and violent behavior. Jose Gasacao. confederating and mutually helping one another. citing Haverton and Abacast. The informations read: In Criminal Case No. In Haverton Shipping Ltd v. The entries made therein by a person performing a duty required by law are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. and other daily events. Erencio C.R.00 without any authority to do so and despite the fact that the same is prohibited by the POEA Rules and Regulations. 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. in Quezon City. which likewise involved a seaman who was prone to intoxication and creating trouble aboard ship when drunk. Alaba. CR No.” One of the crew members named therein was petitioner. namely. conspiring. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. the said accused failed to reimburse the expenses incurred by the said private complainants in connection with their documentation and processing for the purpose of their supposed deployment. of 1995. v.00 without any authority to do so and despite the fact that the same is prohibited by the POEA Rules and Regulations. we reiterated the evidentiary value of the ship’s log. namely. The Master’s Report dated October 6. while his nephew and co-accused. Demetria and Louie A. Q-00-94240 and acquitting him of the charge in Crim.R. finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment in Crim. Captain Kandylis increased his monthly compensation from US$674. we described the ship’s log as the official record of a ship’s voyage which its captain is obligated by law to keep wherein. the ship’s log of the M/V Commander states that he was drunk four (4) times and was not in his post once. Yadao. On the contrary. WHEREFORE. did then and there willfully. As the crewing manager. unlawfully and criminally recruit. appellant’s duties included receiving job applications. Philippines. National Labor Relations Commission. No. enlist and promise overseas employment to the private complainants. In the earlier case of Seahorse Maritime Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission. 1996 signed by Captain Kandylis contains these entries: “the illegal consumption of alcoholic drinks by the Philippine crew put in danger the crew. Melvin I. Q-00-94240 That sometime in the months of May to December.2005 Nov 11 1st Division G. In Criminal Case No. confederating and mutually helping one another. was the President. Caderao. (l) and (m) of Republic Act (RA) No. There is nothing in the records of this case that supports petitioner’s contention. the said accused failed to actually deploy the private complainants without valid reasons as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment and despite the failure of deployment. the lack of such approval is inconsequential since the alteration redounded to petitioner’s benefit.. and that where the dismissal is for cause. Metro Manila. we find no reason why we should not give credence to Captain Kandylis’ Master’s Report. While the contract as altered was not approved by the POEA. the above-named accused. 1999 or thereabout. In fact. we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. a licensed local manning agency. Gasacao and affirming the March 5. Consequently. SP No. In Stolt-Nielsen Marine Services (Phils.00 to US$1. Branch 218. exacting and collecting from the said private complainants cash bonds and/or performance bonds in amounts ranging from P10. he records the decisions he has adopted. Joseph A.: This is an appeal from the May 18. the said accused thereby charging. Inc. 2001 Joint Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. as overseas seamen/seafarers. Appellee. before the RTC of Quezon City. however. disorderly and disobedient. versus CAPT. enlist and promise overseas employment to the private complainants. Costs against petitioner. Appellant. the other nearby sailing vessels as well as environment from eventual destruction. In Abacast Shipping and Management Agency. 2000. as overseas seamen/seafarers. GASACAO. CONTRARY TO LAW. Philippines. the vessel. the said accused thereby charging. We likewise cannot sustain petitioner’s claim that he was underpaid. in Quezon City. a summary of the performance of the vessel.000. conspiring.). Rommel B. v.00 which he received.000. 57111. habitual neglect of duty. Case No. interviewing the applicants and informing them of the agency’s requirement of payment of performance or cash bond prior to deployment. Florencio O. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.000. SO ORDERED. which amount is greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. On August 4. Q-00-94241. The Report shows that he was always drunk.00 to P20. and penalized under Section 7 (b) of the same law. are just causes for dismissal of an employee under Article 282 of the Labor Code. paragraphs (a). Frederick Calambro and Andy Bandiola. 168445 DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. Lindy M.R. Inc. which PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. J. we said that the logbook is “a respectable record that can be relied upon” when the entries therein are presented in evidence. FLORENCIO O. Arca. the erring seaman is neither entitled to separation pay or to the salaries for the unexpired portion of his contract. the abovenamed accused. Dennis Cabangahan.Master’s Report that he (petitioner) was involved in a fight among several members of the crew. appellant and Jose Gasacao were charged with Large Scale Illegal Recruitment defined under Section 6. The factual antecedents are as follows: Appellant was the Crewing Manager of Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. among others. National Labor Relations Commission. 00800 dismissing the appeal of appellant. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act . Patolen. Villamor. Q-00-94241 That sometime in the months of September to November 1999 or thereabout. and insubordination or willful disobedience to the lawful orders of his superior officer.000.
contract services. when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. Conformably with our pronouncement in People v. The appealed Joint Decision dated March 5.750. reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.000. offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged.000. RA No. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. SO ORDERED. SO ORDERED. Case No.000. enlisting. In Crim. the said accused failed to actually deploy the private complainants without valid reasons as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment and despite the failure of deployment. pursuant to Section 6 of RA No. 2005 to transfer the case to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and disposition. it is inconsequential that appellant committed large scale illegal recruitment while Great Eastern Shipping Agency. management or direction of their business shall be liable. He shall also indemnify Dennis C. hiring. Case No. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. . When arraigned. 6.00. Victorino U. accomplices and accessories. Frederick Calambro and Andy Bandiola did not testify. The core issue for resolution is whether error attended the trial court’s findings. Complainants Louie A. the Court of Appeals promulgated the assailed Decision. for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. transporting. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing. As such. 2. He is sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and a fine of P500. However. (b) of R.00. while an authority is a document issued by the DOLE authorizing a person or association to engage in recruitment and placement activities as a private recruitment entity. in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker's fault. the Court believes all these complainants should have been grouped in just one (1) information. Thus. – For purposes of this Act. trial on the merits ensued. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment. and despite the payment of said fees. Cabangahan in the amount of P8. premises considered. promising or advertising for employment abroad. Arca and Joseph A. Yadao. Contrary to appellant’s claim. complainants Melvin I.00. In Crim. 442. that appellant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of large scale illegal recruitment. appellant pleaded not guilty to the offense charged.000.amount is greater that that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary Labor and Employment. Villamor for P20. 2005.00. whether for profit or not. licensee or holder of authority. this appeal. The dispositive portion of the joint decision reads: WHEREFORE. On May 18. SO ORDERED. 2001 of the trial court in Criminal Case No. A license is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) authorizing a person or entity to operate a private employment agency. non-holder. the said accused failed to reimburse the expenses incurred by the said private complainants in connection with their documentation and processing for the purpose of their supposed deployment. In case of juridical persons. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided. the Court finds Florencio O. Case No. Q-00-94240. as well as this Court’s Resolution dated September 19. 8042. Rommel B. Moreover. the officers having control. and Erencio C. as amended. 8042 defines illegal recruitment as follows: II. the present appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. There is no merit in appellant’s contention that he could not be held liable for illegal recruitment since he was a mere employee of the manning agency. DEFINITIONS. and (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. in any manner. Gasacao GUILTY of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment punishable under Section 7. whether a non-licensee. that such non-licensee or non-holder who..000. Demetria did not testify. With costs against the accused-appellant.. Hence. Q-00-94241. We thus find that the court below committed no reversible error in not appreciating that the manning agency was a holder of a valid authority when appellant recruited the private complainants. Only the appellant was arrested while Jose Gasacao remained at large. Gasacao NOT GUILTY of the offense charged. we resolved on February 2. Alaba for P20. which modified pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court insofar as they provide for direct appeals from the RTC to the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed is death. 1995. as in this case. Thereafter. On March 5. whether committed by any persons. . contracting. or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or advance. It shall likewise include the following acts. was holding a valid authority. Lindy M. Patolen for P20. the prosecution having established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.00. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. rendered its Joint Decision convicting appellant of Large Scale Illegal Recruitment in Crim. 2001. Hence. Q-0094240 and acquitting him of the charge in Crim. procuring workers and includes referring. interviews applicants and informs them of the agency’s requirement of payment of performance or cash bond prior to the applicant’s Sec.A. Case No. he is not a mere employee of the manning agency but the crewing manager.. 8042 which provides: The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the principals. utilizing. Q00-94241. Q-00-94240 is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD. he receives job applications. the RTC of Quezon City. Mateo. (a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than the specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. Caderao for P20. it appears that even licensees or holders of authority can be held liable for illegal recruitment should they commit any of the aboveenumerated acts. Branch 218.00. as affirmed by the Court of Appeals. the Court finds Florencio O. Inc.
He interviewed and required them to complete and submit documents purportedly needed for their employment. 1999 and was again informed that he will be deployed in a dredging or supply boat within three months from August 1999. 1999. it was appellant who made representations with the private complainants that he can secure overseas employment for them upon payment of the cash bond. appellant told him to report to the agency thrice a week. The trial court’s appreciation of the complainants’ testimonies deserves the highest respect since it was in a better position to asses their credibility. Rommel B. 1999.000. Clearly. Patolen testified that he applied with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. the appellant told Cadirao to wait for another dredging vessel. but that his deployment will be fast-tracked if he pays the cash bond. In the case of People v. evidenced by receipts signed by accused Cabais and accused Forneas. he applied with the manning agency for the position of mess man. He submitted his application to appellant who told him to come back when he has the money to cover the cash bond of P20. Alaba gave P10. he gave P20. in May 1999 and submitted all the requirements to appellant.00 cash bond will have priority in deployment. Another private complainant. On August 10. On December 11.00. Villamor was not deployed overseas.00 to appellant who acknowledged its receipt. 1999 and paid the cash bond of P19.00 to appellant who issued a receipt. Alaba testified that he applied as a seaman with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. he went to the house of the latter and informed him that he was withdrawing his application. However. it must be shown that appellant gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. we have held that an employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal. It was established that he promised overseas employment to five applicants. Patolen reported to the agency as instructed. the acts of appellant vis-à-vis the private complainants. on July 27. Notwithstanding the payment of the cash bond as evidenced by a receipt dated December 15. 8042 which state that: SEC.A.00 as evidenced by a receipt issued by appellant. We further stated that: In this case. Complainants parted with their money. such fact is not a shield against his conviction for large scale illegal recruitment. if it is shown that he actively and consciously participated in the recruitment process. constitute acts of large scale illegal recruitment which should not be countenanced. In December 1999. he collected cash bonds and promised their deployment notwithstanding the proscription against its collection under Section 60 of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing R. 1999. Patolen was never deployed and when he found out that appellant was no longer connected with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. It is well settled that to prove illegal recruitment. accused-appellant actively participated in the recruitment of the complainants. As the crewing manager. Patolen further testified that he paid the cash bond because appellant told him that his prospective employer will arrive in December 1999 from Saudi Arabia with a vessel to accommodate him. he will be deployed within three months. Cabais.  Appellant’s act of promising the private complainants that they will be deployed abroad within three months after they have paid the cash bond clearly shows that he is engaged in illegal recruitment. 1999. Afterwards. No. He was further advised that he could leave within three months if he paid the cash bond. he found out that appellant was no longer connected with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. Alaba gave another P10. so he went to his residence and demanded the return of his money.000. Jose Gasacao gave him the address of the appellant but he failed to recover the amount from the latter. As what had happened to the other complainants. From May to December 1999. Although he informed them that it is optional. Appellant told him that the payment of the cash bond is optional. he will be included in the first batch of applicants to be deployed. together with his employer.. as an ordinary seaman in May 1999. It is an established dictum that ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. Appellant asked him to wait for his new agency. The latter informed him that he will be deployed abroad within three months. he confronted Jose Gasacao and showed to him a photocopy of the receipt. All of the complainants testified that they personally met the accused-appellant and transacted with her regarding the overseas job placement offers. herein private complainants.000.000. He was also informed that those who had completed paying the P20. he was at the forefront of the company’s recruitment activities. either as the crewing manager of Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc.00. . Private complainant Lindy Villamor testified that it was appellant who informed him that if he will give a cash bond of P20.. he gave P20. The foregoing testimonies of the private complainants clearly established that appellant is not a mere employee of Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. We find as flimsy and self serving appellant’s assertion that he was unaware of the prohibition against the collection of bonds or cash deposits from applicants. Thus. On the other hand. 1999 and issued by the appellant.000. As the crewing manager. Prohibition on Bonds and Deposits. evidence showed that accused-appellant was the one who informed complainant of job prospects in Korea and the requirements for deployment.000. Cabangahan was never deployed overseas nor did he recover his money. After complying with the requirements. He further testified that when he found out that appellant was no longer connected with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. appellant asked Alaba to have his medical examination.deployment.000. Ocean Grandeur. 60. She also received money from them as placement fees. The defense of good faith is neither available. Thus. Victoriano Cadirao also testified that on August 1. Private complainant Dennis Cabangahan testified that he applied as a seaman with Great Eastern Shipping Agency Inc. or as a mere employee of the same.00 to appellant on August 2.000. The latter told Alaba that after payment of a cash bond.00 to the appellant as evidenced by a cash voucher which was approved and signed by the appellant in the presence of Alaba. – In no case shall an employment agency require any bond or cash deposit from the worker to guarantee performance under the contract or his/her repatriation. When the promised employment failed to materialize. On June 3. Even assuming that appellant was a mere employee. Erencio C. Despite appellant’s representations. which has no license yet. Appellant however refused to return the amount of the cash bond. We find no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial court that appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of large scale illegal recruitment. Alaba was never deployed and was also unable to recover the amount of the cash bond that he paid.
TEOFILA LUALHATI. Renato Alden went to Loran to apply for a job as hotel worker for Saipan. Filipina Mendoza went to Loran to apply for employment as hotel worker (p. Oliver Sarmiento.00 shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage. hire and transport Filipino workers for employment abroad. January 12. TSN. He was required to submit NBI clearance. After one year of waiting Alden was not able to leave. Thereafter. 6-7. wife of complainant Oliver Sarmiento. Sometime in April 1998. pp. as well as to reimburse their documentation. Teofila Lualhati. convicting Antonio Nogra (appellant) of large scale illegal recruitment under Section 6(m) in relation to Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 1999.000.A. January 21. July 12. the prosecution was able to present five of them.” The inculpatory portion of the Information charging one Lorna G. Kerwin Donacao went to Loran to apply for employment as purchaser in Saipan (p. did then and there willfully. 1999). Filipina Mendoza and Kerwin Donacao. 1999). 1998).. 1998). 6.000.00 (pp. She paid the amount of P35.000.It is also undisputed that appellant failed to deploy the private complainants without any valid reason. confederating together and mutually helping each other.00 as placement fee. During the first week of November 1997. November 19. The facts. On April 18.R. February 10. TSN. five complainants testified against appellant’s acts of illegal recruitment. November 17. November 19.00 was to be paid prior to his departure to Saipan (pp. Of the six complainants. The POEA files also reflect his position as operations manager of Loran (Exhibit L to L-4. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. TSN. are aptly summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). Teofila Lualhati applied for employment as hotel worker for Saipan with Loran (pp. Appellant required her to submit an NBI clearance and medical certificate and to pay the processing fee in the amount of P35. previous employment certificate and his passport. In this case. February 10. WHEREFORE. 1997 in the City of Naga. the May 18. otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. (Loran) in Concepcion Grande. 1998). 00800 is AFFIRMED. 2008 Aug 29 3rd Division G. 1998). TSN. 4. November 17. The additional amount of P4. November 19. 4. When he was not able to leave for Saipan. 1999). 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. she filed a complaint with the NBI (pp.. Plaintiff-Appellee. unlawfully and criminally. The license of Loran also indicated appellant as the operations manager (p. to their damage and prejudice in the amounts as may be proven in court. Accused-Appellant. the above-named accused. LTD. That sometime during the period of March 1997 to November. 00244 affirming the Judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 1997.000. 170834 DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. with office at Concepcion Grande. Fe Zaballa. No. 1998). TSN. She demanded the refund of the processing fee.00 so she could leave immediately. When she was not able to work abroad. 4. trial of the case ensued. Appellant promised Alden that he would leave within a period of three to four months. TSN. Annelyn Sarmiento and her husband. which was not refunded (pp. Only appellant was brought to the jurisdiction of the trial court since Lorna G. Alden filed a complaint with the NBI when he was not able to recover the amount and could no longer talk with appellant (p. FE ZABALLA. 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. thereby rendering his acts tantamount to economic sabotage. 1998). No. 1999). Anaielyn Sarmiento. 8042.00 from appellant (p. as follows: Appellant held office at Loran International Overseas Recruitment Co.00 to Loran's secretary in the presence of appellant. this notwithstanding his promise to them that those who can pay the cash bond will be deployed within three months from payment of the same. representing themselves to have the capacity to contract. For the application of Oliver Sarmiento. After paying the amount. Such failure to deploy constitutes a violation of Section 6 (l) of RA No.. 5. also testified for the prosecution. 8042). A nameplate on his table prominently displayed his name and position as operations manager (p. He paid the placement fee of P35. 7. No. 1999).000. TSN. OLIVER SARMIENTO. J. the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P500. 1998). Naga City (p. p.000. he was told to wait for two to three months. TSN. TSN.00 nor more than P1. being the General Manager and Operations Manager of LORAN INTERNATIONAL OVERSEAS RECRUITMENT CO. they submitted his medical certificate and certification of previous employment. CR No. p.000.00. TSN. as established by the prosecution. Branch 19. TSN. 11-13. He was interviewed by appellant. Despite repeated follow-ups. police clearance. the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly found appellant guilty beyond reasonable of large scale illegal recruitment. November 19. 14-15. Naga City. Under Section 7 (b) of RA No. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three or more persons individually or as a group. February 10. 10. 11. She paid the amount of P35. 5-9. Arraigned with the assistance of counsel. 98-7182. 8042. he failed to return the amount of the cash bond paid by them. They were also made PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 4.: Before the Court is an appeal from the Decision dated August 31. TSN.4-5. appellant entered a plea of “NOT GUILTY” to the crime charged. enlist. 1998). when it became clear that appellant cannot deploy the private complainants without their fault. 1999). she went to Loran and sought the return of P35. October 19. recruit and promise employment/job placement to the herein complaining witnesses RENATO ALDEN. Alden paid the amount of P31. C. versus Antonio Nogra. for a fee. he demanded the return of the placement fee. Verily. TSN. TSN. placement and processing expenses for purposes of deployment despite their repeated demands for the return of the same. Orciga and appellant with large scale illegal recruitment reads as follows: . 21.000. She was promised that within 120 days or 4 months she would be able to leave (pp. who required Alden to submit an NBI clearance and medical certificate and to pay the placement fee. November 19. Orciga was then and still is at large. November 17. applied for overseas employment.R. namely: Renato Alden. 1-3. conspiring.000. but failed to actually deploy them without valid reason. 5-6. Lualhati was unable to work in Saipan. When the amount was not returned to her. 1998. PILIPINA MENDOZA and KERWIN DONACAO. CONTRARY TO LAW. Sometime in October 1997. Sometime in December 1996. Worse. TSN. TSN. 8042 (R. February 10.000.R. Philippines. Naga City in Criminal Case No.R.
A. She also controlled the financial matters and assessment fees of the agency in Naga City (TSN. 2000.e.000. The appeal fails.A. an indication of innocence. 2005. May 2. 5). 2003. transporting. Corpuz. that appellant had knowledge of and active participation in the recruitment activities since all the prosecution witnesses pinpointed appellant as the one whom they initially approached regarding their plans of working overseas and he was the one who told them about the fees they had to pay. pp. No.000. Oliver Sarmiento was promised that within 1 month. in every instance. the Court finds the accused ANTONIO NOGRA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Illegal Recruitment Committed in Large Scale defined under Sections 6(m) and 7(b) of RA 8042. [Appellant] Nogra started working with LORAN in October 1994. September 30. pp. p. Although he was designated as the Operations Manager. accordingly. II. otherwise known as The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 and. appellant presented the following evidence: The defense presented [appellant] Antonio Nogra and the agency's secretary and cashier.00 monthly meal allowance. appellant filed a Notice of Appeal. [appellant] Nogra was a mere employee of the agency.000. hereby imposes upon him the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. he would be able to leave. 8042 defined when recruitment is illegal: SEC. 2001. Appellant argues that the agency was under the management and control of Orciga. In his Brief. 2000. 7-8. LTD. The CA did not commit any error in affirming the decision of the RTC. – For purposes of this Act. No. 4-6. Conformably to the ruling in People v..000. 2-9). that the mere fact that appellant was not issued special authority to recruit does not exculpate him from any liability but rather strongly suggests his guilt. 6. the CA rendered a Decision affirming the decision of the RTC.. 2000. He was in-charge of the advertisement of the company. May 3. Mandaluyong City that it was in need of a liaison officer. R. that appellant's invocation of nonflight cannot be weighed in his favor since there is no established rule that non-flight is. 2003. In 1995. that he could not be held personally liable for illegal recruitment in the absence of any showing that he was validly issued special authority to recruit workers. On March 26. which was approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Section 6 of R. Oliver Sarmiento was told that allegedly his visa was yet to be obtained. i. NBI clearance and police clearance. He was receiving a monthly salary of P5. 1999). through the OSG. He fetched from the airport the agency's visitors and guests and drove them to hotels and other places. (TSN. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE OFFENSE-CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT THAT UNDER THE LAW. Initially. The RTC ordered the transmittal of the entire records of the case to this Court. He also drove for the company. [appellant] Antonio Nogra read from outside the agency's main office at Libertad. Appellee. the RTC rendered Judgment finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. the case was referred to the CA for intermediate review. Definition. Fe Zaballa applied for overseas employment in Saipan with Loran (p. hiring. actually remained in control of the branch office in Naga City. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing..00 and additional P2. he filed a complaint with the NBI (pp. for brevity) was owned by accused Lorna Orciga and Japanese national Kataru Tanaka (TSN. he was transferred to Naga City when the agency opened a branch office thereat. He applied for the position. enlisting. September 20. On April 10. May 21. HE WAS NOT CRIMINALY LIABLE FOR HIS AGENCY'S TRANSACTIONS. On August 31. On the other hand. She was also required to pay the amount of P35. based upon this Court's ruling in People v. 1422). Lorna Orciga. A Notice of Appeal having been timely filed by appellant. 8042 broadened the concept of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code and provided stiffer penalties.000. She conducted the final interview of the applicants and transacted with the foreign employers. TSN. When she could not be deployed. TSN. SO ORDERED. that his non-flight is indicative of his innocence. Mateo. Sometime in July 1994. The fallo of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS A MERE EMPLOYEE OF THE RECRUITMENT AGENCY DESPITE HIS DESIGNATION AS ITS OPERATIONS MANAGER. p. From their testimonies it was established that LORAN INTERNATIONAL OVERSEAS RECRUITMENT CO. which was not returned (pp. original copy of her birth certificate. 1999). or . but failed to deploy them and refused to reimburse the applicants' placement fees when demanded.to pay the amount of P27. The CA held that being an employee is not a valid defense since employees who have knowledge and active participation in the recruitment activities may be criminally liable for illegal recruitment activities. Chowdury and People v. 4.00). especially those that constitute economic sabotage. utilizing. (LORAN. 7). the CA forwarded the records of the case to this Court for further review. Maritess Mesina. 1999). 2000. and that he was a mere employee. but its Operations Manager who directly participated in the recruitment scheme by promising private complainants work abroad. When he was not able to leave and what he paid was not refunded. however. appellant assigns as errors the following: I. she. Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale and Illegal Recruitment Committed by a Syndicate. She was required to submit her medical certificate. contracting. she sought to recover the amount she paid. January 10. (TSN. hired him instead as Operations Manager as the agency was then still in the process of completing the list of personnel to be submitted to the POEA.00 as placement fee. Although part-owner Lorna Orciga was stationed in Manila. counters that appellant is not a mere clerk or secretary of Loran. as well as the papers that they had to submit. TSN. pp. 8-9).00 as processing fee. The placement and processing fees collected by the agency in Naga City were all deposited in the bank account of Lorna Orciga and not a single centavo went to the benefit of [appellant] Nogra (TSN. April 23. January 31. Sometime in May 1997. The partowner and co-accused.
No. medical certificate. as amended.A. and interviewed and informed them of the agency’s requirements prior to their deployment. Where there is nothing to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive. 8042. No. No. for strangers to conspire and accuse another stranger of a most serious crime just to mollify their hurt feelings would certainly be against human nature and experience.00. The prosecution presented the receipts issued by Loran to private complainants evidencing payment of placement fees ranging from P27. including their assessment of the witnesses’ credibility. evidence for the prosecution showed that Loran International Overseas Recruitment Co. 8042. contract services. A thorough scrutiny of the prosecution's evidence reveals that it failed to prove appellant's liability under Section 6 (l) of R. 442. No. No. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. but failed to deploy them and to reimburse. non-holder. As to Section 6 (m) of R. are entitled to great weight and respect by the Supreme Court. Section 6 (l) refers to the failure to actually deploy without valid reason. That any such non-licensee or non-holder who. The law requires not only that the failure to deploy be without valid reason “as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment. and accessories. as Operations Manager. he seeks to exculpate himself on the ground that he is a mere employee of Loran. such as NBI clearance.A. In case of juridical persons.A. accomplices. No. Thus. the Court reiterated the ruling in People v. whether for profit or not. but its Operations Manager. he was in the forefront of the recruitment activities. Appellant does not dispute that private complainants were not deployed for overseas work. in any manner. 8042. under R.00 to P35. and accessories. People v.” Contrary to appellant's claim. Chowdury and People v. 8042. which may be due to several factors. the trial court is in the best position to . management or direction of their business shall be liable. it was clearly established that appellant dealt directly with the private complainants. Sagayaga. In People v. It is a settled rule that factual findings of the trial courts. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided. It shall likewise include the following acts. even a licensee or holder of authority can be held liable for illegal recruitment. which is competent evidence against him tending to establish his guilt. the placement fees paid. Cabais. No document from the DOLE was presented in the present case to establish the reason for the accused's failure to actually deploy private complainants. However. 8042. Besides. the officers having control. and (m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. The penultimate paragraph of Section 6 of R. which enticed complaining witnesses to apply for employment with the agency. The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the principals. previous employment certificate and the payment of placement fee. As such. the testimonies of the complaining witnesses and the documentary evidence for the prosecution clearly established that he was not a mere employee of Loran. as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker's fault. non-flight is simply inaction. the officers having control. He was also responsible for the radio advertisements and leaflets.000. and that the placement fees they paid were not returned to them despite demand. After all. management or direction of their business shall be liable. Ltd. in cases in which the deployment does not actually take place without the worker’s fault.” The law envisions that there be independent evidence from the DOLE to establish the reason for non-deployment. The defense of being a mere employee is not a shield against his conviction for large scale illegal recruitment. the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that private complainants made payments to Loran. He promised deployment within a three or four month-period upon payment of the fee. Clearly. Corpuz that an employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal by direct participation. Of marked relevance is the absence of any showing that the private complainants had any ill motive against appellant other than to bring him to the bar of justice to answer for the crime of illegal recruitment. particularly when the CA affirmed such findings. their positive and categorical declarations on the witness stand under the solemnity of an oath deserve full faith and credence. such as the absence of a proper job order. appellant cannot be held liable under Section 6 (l) of R.000. In case of juridical persons. when undertaken by a non-licensee or nonholder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. together with its employer. Unlike the flight of an accused. offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. Section 6 (m) involves the failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment. should he commit or omit to do any of the acts enumerated in Section 6. upon demand.procuring workers and includes referring. police clearance. whether a non-licensee. he received private complainants' job applications.A. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. Appellant was charged with illegal recruitment in large scale under Section 6 (l) and (m) of R. Gasacao and People v. accomplices. It may not be construed as an indication of innocence. In the present case. The Court is not persuaded by appellant's argument that his non-flight is indicative of his innocence. However. is a duly licensed recruitment agency with authority to establish a branch office. The license of Loran. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) In the present case. the files of the POEA and the nameplate prominently displayed on his office desk reflected his position as Operations Manager. licensee or holder of authority: xxxx (l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reason as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment. promising or advertising for employment abroad. 8042 explicitly states that those criminally liable are the “principals.A. Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving economic sabotage. He interviewed and informed them of the documentary requirements and placement fee.A. whether committed by any person. if it is shown that he actively and consciously participated in the recruitment process. The Court is unswayed by appellant's contention.. and appellant failed to reimburse the amounts paid by private complainants when they were not deployed.
AGRAMON to her damage. CR No. AGRAMON in Italy as factory worker for a total consideration of twenty seven thousand and five hundred pesos (P27.000. On April 27. Under Section 7 (b) of R. No. illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if committed in large scale. did then and there willfully.500. Branch 35 (RTC). CONTRARY TO LAW. the POEA. unlawfully and feloniously recruit the herein complainants. they were required to pay placement fees. or that its assessment was arbitrary. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. conspiring and confederating with each other. an Information was filed with the RTC. 00-180521: That on or about September 1998. The challenged decision amended the May 21. 8042. Plaintiff-Appellee. 00-180520: That on or about September 1998.R. Criminal Case No. 00-180519: That on or about October 1998. and in Criminal Case Nos. FE MAGNAYE. Philippines. Under the last paragraph of Section 6 of R. referred the matter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and submitted evidence before it. scheme or excuse to get or exact money from the said complainant as they in fact collected and received the amount of P27. In the present case. scheme or excuse to get or exact PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.00 from said LUCILA C. GRACE CALIMON AND AIDA COMILA.500. did then and there willfully. the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P500. and thereafter in Manila. and Daisy Devanadera. on December 28. 8042 is AFFIRMED. of Republic Act No.00 from said FE MAGNAYE to her damage. Philippines. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.2009 Jan 29 1st Division G. Thus. impels the Court to defer to the trial court’s determination according credibility to the prosecution evidence. Lucila Agramon.00) as placement and processing fees. Manila.00) Philippine Currency for the consideration thereof. The Decision dated August 31. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. respectively. No. loss and prejudice for the aforesaid amount.000. 175229 DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. On October 8. The absence of any showing that the trial court plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that. The complaints were initiated by Fe Magnaye. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code were also filed against the three. and thereafter in Manila. loss and prejudice for the aforesaid amount. and thereafter in Manila. committed against three or more persons individually or as a group.000. but merely as a pretext.000. 1999. Accused-Appellants. WHEREFORE.00) as placement and processing fees. the DOJ issued a Resolution recommending the filing of the corresponding Information against Lo and the accused-appellants. and thereafter in Manila. but merely as a pretext. scheme or excuse to get or exact money from the said complainant as they in fact collected and received the amount of P55. did then and there willfully. the RTC and the CA correctly found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of large scale illegal recruitment. Accordingly. Three separate Informations for estafa arising from the same acts penalized under paragraph 2(a). 8042. 8042. SO ORDERED. docketed as Criminal Case No. accused-appellants were apprehended for their involvement in other cases of illegal recruitment and estafa. estafa under paragraph 2(a). conspiring and confederating with each other. thus: Criminal Case No. 00611. No. the complainants delivered and paid the total amount (P110. thereby rendering his acts tantamount to economic sabotage. Luciano’ in Italy as factory worker for a total consideration of twenty seven thousand five hundred pesos (P27. conspiring and confederating with each other. Private complainants Magnaye. On May 6. charging Lo and accused-appellants with illegal recruitment in large scale defined and penalized under Sections 6 and 7. five complainants testified against appellant’s acts of illegal recruitment. 00-180520.500. 2001 Decision of the Regional Trial Court. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. but merely as a pretext. all for the crime of . might affect the result of the case. unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment to FE MAGNAYE in Italy as factory worker for a total consideration of fifty five thousand pesos (P55. knowing that they have no capacity whatsoever and with no intention to fulfill their promise.000. LUCILA AGRAMON and DAISY DEVANADERA to Italy as factory workers for the consideration thereof. without accused having secured the necessary license and authority from the Department of Labor and Employment to recruit and deploy workers to Italy.determine the value and weight of the testimonies of witnesses.00 shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage. knowing that they have no capacity whatsoever and with no intention to fulfill their promise. J. The relevant portion of the Information follows: Criminal Case No. three separate complaint-affidavits were filed with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) charging Lourdes Lo (Lo) and accused-appellants Grace Calimon (Calimon) and Aida Comila (Comila) with illegal recruitment and estafa. 00-179745. Agramon and Devanadera were summoned to a preliminary investigation at the DOJ.000. the above-named accused. the appeal is DISMISSED. unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment to LUCILA C.00 nor more than P1. 1999. CONTRARY TO LAW. CONTRARY TO LAW. 8042.00) as placement and processing fees. 00179745: That on or about September 1998. if considered. Criminal Case No. Philippines. did then and there willfully. and 00-180521. docketed as Criminal Case Nos. the above-named accused.: For our consideration is an appeal from the Decision dated January 31. 00-180520 and 00-180521. the above-named accused.A. versus LOURDES LO. knowing that they have no capacity whatsoever and with no intention to fulfill their promise. viz. Accused. 00-179745 for illegal recruitment in large scale under Section 6 of Republic Act No. 1999. in Criminal Case No. 00180519.A. 00-180519. unlawfully and feloniously recruit and promise employment to DAISY DEVANADERA alias ‘Renata P. 1999. After several months.R. the above-named accused. 2995 of the Court of Appeals affirming the conviction of appellant Antonio Nogra for large scale illegal recruitment under Sections 6 (m) and 7 (b) of Republic Act No.
00 each. 1999. herein accused-appellants pleaded “not guilty” to the crimes charged. 00-180521. and (2) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No. In Criminal Case No. loss and prejudice for the aforesaid amount. The defense presented accused-appellants as witnesses. 1998. However. In the service of her (accused Aida Comila) sentence in Criminal Case No. denied having known or seen Lo. and the respective sentences of both accused in Criminal Cases Nos. Devanadera called up AISC to verify Calimon’s representation.money from the said complainant as they in fact collected and received the amount of P27. eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor. an employee of the POEA. Calimon gave private complainants their supposed individual employment contracts as factory workers in Italy. The person who answered the phone readily confirmed accused-appellant Calimon’s claim. However. Calimon brought them to St. as maximum. as minimum.000. follows: Sometime in 1998.  Thereafter. Martin’s Clinic for medical examination. 00180520 and 00-180521. and sentencing each of the said accused to the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor. On January 15. She maintained that it was accused-appellant Comila who received the money from her amounting to P16. Calimon showed a job order of factory workers purportedly issued by an Italian firm. In Criminal Cases Nos. Trial on the merits ensued thereafter. pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. On October 24. however. 00-179745 and 00-180520. the RTC rendered a Decision convicting the appellants of the crimes charged. to nine (9) years of prision mayor as maximum. B. and to pay the costs in equal shares. At one time. both Devanadera and Agramon readily parted with their money. has not yet been apprehended and has remained at large.00 from each of the private complainants to cover expenses for medical examination and processing fees for travel documents. to two (2) years. when accused Calimon asked P10. otherwise. (1) pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale and sentencing said accused to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P800. inclusive. Finally. as minimum. judgment is rendered: A. With costs against the two accused in proportionate shares. Magnaye gave an additional amount of P15. . she maintained that it was accused Lo who recruited and received money from private complainants. CONTRARY TO LAW. accused Grace Calimon is ordered to pay to complainants Fe Magnaye and Daisy Devanadera the sums of P35. in the course of following up the status of her overseas employment application. Pasig City. but Devanadera refused to pay.00. Calimon then asked for more money to secure the visa. resumes and other documents. to six (6) years. The three proceeded to the POEA to verify the status of their contract where they discovered that while AISC was a licensed recruitment agency.500. jointly and severally. 00-180519 and 00-180521. The other complainants received similar treatment.000. 00-179745. as evidenced by receipts duly signed by Calimon. as reparation for the damages she caused her. She averred that it was Lo who recruited her and private complainants.000.000. Upon arraignment. culled from their collective testimonies. a legitimate recruitment agency.000. eleven (11) months and ten (10) days of prision correccional. birth certificates. In Criminal Cases Nos. 00-179745. Camillus Clinic.000. Lo and accusedappellants Calimon and Comila were not among its registered employees. Accused-appellant Comila. Accused-appellant Calimon denied the accusations against her. 00180519 to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional. in January 1999.000.00 and P17. A summary of facts. She claimed that she was also an applicant for overseas job placement and that she never promised any work abroad to private complainants. Martin’s Clinic were not honored by the Italian Embassy. and to pay a fine of P300. 00-180520. 00-179745. 2001. the contracts did not indicate an employer. Thus. private complainant Magnaye paid P20. as maximum. respectively. on the other hand. She likewise denied having received any money from private complainants. and PO2 Edward Catalan. as well as Corazon Cristobal. In Criminal Cases Nos.00.00. and (2) pronouncing accused AIDA COMILA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple illegal recruitment and sentencing said accused to imprisonment from eight (8) to ten (10) years.00 to Calimon. Lo persuaded private complainants to apply for a job in Italy through the services of accusedappellants. Accused Lo. as reparations for the damages she caused them. While Devanadera and Agramon gave her an additional amount of P7. C. 00-180519. to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional. as minimum. On May 21. Agramon the sum of P10. the period during which they have been under preventive imprisonment should be credited in their favor provided that they agreed voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners. They likewise gave their respective passports. accused Grace Calimon and accused Aida Comila are ordered.00. private complainants were subjected to another medical examination at St. In Criminal Case No. upon the urging of Lo. Calimon introduced complainant Devanadera to accused-appellant Comila who showed her file and informed her of the need to secure a visa with the Italian Embassy. 00-180519 and 00180521.500.000. and to pay the costs for each case. The prosecution presented as witnesses the three private complainants. On the same date. to pay offended party Lucila C. She averred she could not have recruited private complainants because she gave birth in Baguio in October 1998. pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON and AIDA COMILA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a) Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. and (1) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No.00 to Calimon for the latter’s recruitment services. because according to Calimon the medical examinations at St. NBI clearances.500. Lo introduced them to accused-appellant Calimon who represented herself as a sub-agent of Axil International Services and Consultancy (AISC).  Private complainant Agramon’s follow ups with Calimon were just met by repeated assurance that she will be deployed immediately once her papers are completely processed. thus: “WHEREFORE.00 as payment for her placement fee.00 from said DAISY DEVANADERA alias ‘Renata P Luciano’ to her damage. they should be credited with four-fifths only of the time they have been under preventive imprisonment.
in Criminal Cases Nos. as maximum.000. In Criminal Cases Nos. should be the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional.00). Comila was likewise correctly convicted by the RTC of the crime of simple Illegal Recruitment. accused Grace Calimon is ordered to pay to complainant Fe Magnaye the sum of P35. as minimum. accused-appellants contend that the prosecution witnesses established that only Lo recruited private complainants and promised to deploy them abroad. In Criminal Cases Nos. In their brief. However. to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional. 00-180519 and 00-180521. Rules of Court). 00- 180520.500. 8042). 00-180520. the May 21. 00-180519. 00-179745.00. 7. and to pay a fine of P300. as minimum. as reparation for the damages she caused her. She was also able to induce private .000. However. Comila should be made solidarily liable with Calimon to indemnify P17.000. 00180520 and 00-180521. In the service of her (accused Aida Comila) sentence in Criminal Case No. Grace Calimon was properly found guilty of Estafa through false pretenses.500. In Criminal Cases Nos. In Criminal Case No. as minimum.00 to Daisy Devanadera.00. and to pay the costs for each case. and (2) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No. and 00-180521. the correct penalty that should be imposed upon Calimon and Comila.500. as in the instant case (Sec. eight (8) months and Twenty (20) days of prision mayor. Branch 35. eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor. SO ORDERED. jointly and severally. Calimon successfully gave private complainants the impression that she had the ability to send workers abroad although she did not in fact have the authority to do so. and to pay the costs in equal shares. 00-179745 and 00-180521. to six (6) years. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). in Criminal Case No. accused Grace Calimon is ordered to pay jointly and severally with Aida Comila to complainant Daisy Devanadera the sum of P17. the penalty imposed by the RTC must be modified to life imprisonment and a fine of One Million Pesos (P1.00. 2001 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. as maximum. WHEREFORE. Since the amount defrauded from Fe Magnaye was P35. Section 2. eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor. Hence.000. In Criminal Case No. 00180519 to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional. premises considered. and (1) sentencing said accused in Criminal Case No. The CA’s reasoning for the modification and the dispositive portion of the CA Decision follow: Summing up. 00-180519. 00-180520. is hereby AMENDED to read as follows: WHEREFORE. as reparations for the damages she caused her. was proper. 00-180521.00. it has been duly proven that Comila was a conspirator to the crime subject of this case. the present appeal based on the following lone assignment of error: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GRACE CALIMON FOR ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT IN LARGE SCALE AND THREE (3) COUNTS OF ESTAFA AND AIDA COMILA FOR SIMPLE ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT AND ONE (1) COUNT OF ESTAFA DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE THEIR GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.00) when the offender is a non-licensee or nonholder of authority to recruit and deploy workers abroad. With costs against the two accused in proportionate shares. the penalty imposed by the RTC was proper. In Criminal Cases Nos.” On appeal.” Hence. to pay offended party Lucila C. the RTC correctly convicted Calimon of Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale.000. The people. accused Grace Calimon and accused Aida Comila are ordered. in the absence of any modifying circumstances. In view of her acquittal by the RTC. Agramon the sum of P10. C. since the amount defrauded from Lucila Agramon is P17. and (2) pronouncing accused AIDA COMILA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple illegal recruitment and sentencing said accused to imprisonment from eight (8) to ten (10) years. Rule 120. and the respective sentences of both accused in Criminal Cases Nos.000. 00-180519.000. In Criminal Case No. 00-179745 and 00-180520. judgment is rendered: A.SO ORDERED. In Criminal Case No. the amount involved is P17. The sentence pronounced by the RTC. since Comila’s acquittal on the ground of reasonable doubt did not declare whether the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist (Last paragraph. 00-180521.00. In Criminal Case No. maintains that accused-appellant Calimon committed the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale while accusedappellant Comila committed the crime of simple illegal recruitment. 00-179745 and 00-180519. Republic Act No. the penalty imposed by the trial court on Calimon is correct. as minimum. pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.500. this matter can no longer be questioned in this appeal on the ground of double jeopardy. Further. they should be credited with four-fifths only of the time they have been under preventive imprisonment. the CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC but with modifications. They deny having collected placement fees. they insist that they are not guilty of estafa through false pretenses because they did not commit any act of deceit as it was only accused Lo who promised to deploy private complainants to Italy for a fee. to six (6) years. (1) pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale and sentencing said accused to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P1. to six (6) years. the period during which they have been under preventive imprisonment should be credited in their favor provided that they agreed voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners. B. otherwise. as reparation for the damages they caused her. but ironically admitted that the amount collected was for medical examination. There being no modifying circumstances. By her conduct.000. as maximum. pronouncing accused GRACE CALIMON and AIDA COMILA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of estafa defined under paragraph 2 (a) Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. inclusive. 00-179745.00. to nine (9) years of prision mayor as maximum.000.00.00. which is punishable by the maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of One Million Pesos (P1. and sentencing each of the said accused to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional. 00-179745. 00-179745. visa and passport fees.000.
or by means of other similar deceits. not for illegal recruitment in large scale in conspiracy with Calimon. locally or abroad. did not have any license to recruit persons for overseas work. Article 13. the OSG submits that accused-appellant Calimon committed two counts of estafa through false pretenses while accused-appellant Comila committed one count of estafa through false pretenses. promising or advertising for employment. That the maximum penalty shall be imposed if the person illegally recruited is less than eighteen (18) years of age or committed by a non-licensee or nonholder of authority. undoubtedly. as amended. Hence. Penalties. paragraph (b) of the Labor Code enumerates the acts which constitute recruitment and placement: (b) ‘Recruitment and placement’ refer to any act of canvassing. 442. promising or advertising for employment abroad.00) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined herein.000. enlisting. and collecting money from them allegedly for processing fees and travel documents. points out that conspiracy was not alleged in the Information. Licensing Branch which issued a Certification to this effect and the testimony of an employee of the POEA. Magnaye and Agramon also corroborated the testimony of Devanadera. we are convinced that the three elements were sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt. whether for profit or not. the OSG argues that there is clear and convincing evidence that she conspired with Calimon. In a litany of cases. 13. Definition. Swindling (estafa). cannot stand against the straightforward testimonies of private complainants who positively identified them in court as the persons who enticed them to part with their money upon their fraudulent representations that they (accusedappellants) would be able to secure for the former employment abroad. This is supported by the testimonies of the private complainants. or procuring workers and includes referring. Accusedappellants’ acts of deliberately misrepresenting themselves to private complainants as having the necessary authority or license to recruit applicants for overseas employment. i. Provided. illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing. (b). Comila can only be convicted for simple illegal recruitment. 315. property. contract services. The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. On the part of Comila. qualifications. 6.00) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. par. utilizing. (b) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. ….. contracting. (c) the offender committed the same against three (3) or more persons. The OSG. First.00) nor more than One million pesos (P1. the three private complainants herein. …. – For purposes of this Act. Their narration undoubtedly established that accused-appellants promised them employment in Italy as factory workers and they (accused-appellants) asked money from them (private complainants) to allegedly process their papers and visas. Corazon Cristobal. Corollarily. the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of the witnesses shall not be interfered with by this Court.000. whether for profit or not: Provided. credit. RA 8042). x x x Sec. she was properly convicted of simple illegal recruitment only. that any such nonlicensee or non-holder who. 34 of the same Code (now Sec. transporting. however.000. 7. particularly Devanadera who categorically testified that accused-appellants promised private complainants employment and assured them of placement overseas.000. individually or as a group. this third element was not proved and thus. 2. however. of the Labor Code. offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged. This Court is likewise convinced that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellants are guilty of estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code: ART. After a thorough review of the records.complainants to tender payment for fees.000. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud: (a) By using fictitious name. accused-appellants. agency. This is substantiated by the POEA. hiring. but failing to deploy them and to return the money they had collected despite several demands clearly amount to estafa.00). business or imaginary transactions. contract services. in any manner. or procuring workers. we held that to constitute illegal recruitment in large scale three (3) elements must concur: (a) the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers. and includes referrals. accused-appellants engaged in illegal recruitment activities. enlisting. she committed the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale. In the absence of any evidence that the prosecution witnesses were motivated by improper motives. As to Comila. influence. and. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. Private complainants were deceived as they relied on accused-appellants’ misrepresentation and scheme that caused them to entrust their money to them in exchange of what they later discovered was a vain hope of obtaining employment abroad. as well as their selfserving and uncorroborated testimonies. or falsely pretending to possess power. offering overseas employment for a fee. we hold that the present appeal is plainly unmeritorious. utilizing. x x x Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided. hiring.  Additionally. 6. Since there were three (3) workers involved in the transaction. Third. 8042 state: SEC. accused-appellant Calimon committed illegal recruitment activities involving at least three persons. – (a) Any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years and a fine of not less than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200. . transporting. (b) the offender undertakes any of the activities within the meaning of "recruitment and placement" under Art. Accused-appellants’ mere denials. That any person or entity which. or any of the prohibited practices enumerated under Art.e. in any manner. contracting. Here. when undertaken by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. Second.
in the City of Makati. CR No. in Criminal Case No. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 00611 dated January 31. Private complainants parted with their hard-earned money and suffered damage by reason of accused-appellants deceitful and illegal acts.000. Inc. Abril and Orillano -.2008 Oct 6 3rd Division G. 2006 is AFFIRMED.000. (Brighturn). Panguelo paid in full the placement fee in the amount of P50. trial on the merits ensued. 8042. with principal address at No.000. ABRIL EVANGELINE E. versus NENITA B. PANGUELO PAUL C. (2) by falsely pretending to possess power.R.-CR.testified. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. At Brighturn. Hu. Sometime in June 2001. Hu assisted by counsel entered a plea of not guilty while Genoves remained at large. DELAYUN JOEY F. Under this class of estafa. a land-based recruitment agency duly licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to engage in the business of recruitment and placement of workers abroad.000. Panguelo was informed by a friend that Brighturn was hiring factory workers for Taiwan. influence.000.R. LPL Building.R. he was promised employment abroad by Hu for P50.00. Branch 66. Malate. process and deploy landbased workers for the period 18 December 1999 to 17 December 2001. the element of deceit is indispensable. as defined and penalized under Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. finding appellant Nenita B. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. As modified.C. While the Information for illegal recruitment named several persons as having been promised jobs by Hu and Genoves.Accused-Appellant.000 in favor of Evangeline Garcia. another recruitment agency located at Room No. Merry Ann Genoves and Nenita B.00. did then and there willfully. Hu (Hu) seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 9 October 2007 in CA-G. Upon arraignment. Manila. The elements of deceit and damage for this form of estafa are indisputably present. SO ORDERED. property. the delivery of the money by the complainants. is DELETED. hence their conviction for estafa was proper. Private complainants Orillano. qualifications.000 and P50. Genoves was also connected with Riverland Consultancy Service (Riverland).There are three ways of committing estafa under the abovequoted provision: (1) by using a fictitious name. respectively.in Criminal Case No. To convict for this type of crime.a. agency. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. Panguelo decided to abort his application and demanded from Hu the return of the amount he paid for the placement fee. conspiring and confederating together and both of them helping and aiding one another.. 210. 03-856. means and legal qualifications to provide the latter with work in Italy. the above-named accused. Hu was the President of Brighturn International Services. and (3) by means of other similar deceits. When Panguelo went to Brighturn. Garcia. Abril was entertained by Hu who oriented him on the necessary requirements for application which included a valid passport. No. The payment was evidenced by an Official Receipt dated 16 October 2001 bearing Genoves’ signature. business or imaginary transactions. Also sometime in September 2001. Hu. SILAO JOEL U. Branch 66.k.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by accusedappellant Nenita B. The decretal part of the assailed Court of Appeals Decision reads: Wherefore. Notwithstanding private complainants’ compliance with all of the preemployment requirements. only four of them – Panguelo. HU.Plaintiff-Appellee. to . The RTC in its Decision found Hu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale. P50. Sen. Genoves (Genoves) which reads: The undersigned Prosecutor accuses Ethel V.00 to Genoves. including the payment of placement fees. is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. and accordingly. ORILLANO thus in large scale amounting to economic sabotage without any license or authorized by the POEA of the Department of Labor and Employment to recruit workers for an overseas employment. or at least simultaneously with. Subsequently. Aside from her stint at Brighturn. credit. WHEREFORE. 182232 DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. Thus. promise employment/job placement abroad for an overseas employment and collect fees from the following persons to wit: NOEL P. of the crime of Violation of Section 6 penalized under Section 7(b) of RA 8042 (Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale) committed as follows: That on or about the 9th day of October 2001. Makati City. Panguelo. No. GARCIA ERIC V. affirming with modification the Decision dated 4 January 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. Abril went to Brighturn to apply as a factory worker in Taiwan.-H. and to indemnify private complainants Paul Abril (Abril). Accused-appellants led private complainants to believe that they possessed the power. Gil Puyat Avenue. it is essential that the false statement or fraudulent representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive which induces the complainant to part with the thing of value. unlawfully and feloniously recruit. 1916 San Marcelino St. J. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.Brighturn was authorized by the POEA to recruit. in the light of the foregoing disquisitions. The antecedent facts are as follows: An Information for Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale was filed against Hu and Ethel V. In the present case. 03-356. Joel Panguelo (Panguelo) and Evangeline Garcia (Garcia) in the amounts of P44. but Hu could no longer return the money. Abril and Garcia sought employment at Brighturn for the positions of factory worker and electronic operator in Taiwan. 02243. they were not able to leave the country to work abroad. sentenced her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment. Genoves worked as a consultant and marketing officer of Brighturn. the deceit consists of accused-appellants’ false statement or fraudulent representation which was made prior to. Panguelo waited for three years to be deployed to Taiwan.00. pay the fine of P500. Upon Hu’s instruction. His waiting was all for naught. the award of actual damages in the amount of P50. when in fact they did not. Genoves a.
however.00 and Evangeline Garcia in the amount of P50. albeit empty promises. After the interview. must prove. confirmed the presence of all the elements of illegal recruitment in large scale.00 and to indemnify private complainants Paul Abril in the amount of P44. After the expiration of its license issued by the POEA on 18 December 1999.00.000. 8042. Manila.00 be deleted.00 as placement fee. Ei incumbit probation qui dicit non qui negat.000.00 was paid by Garcia to Hu and Genoves as placement fee upon Hu’s instruction. . she found that private complainants paid their placement fees to Riverland and not to Brighturn as shown in the heading of the said receipts which bore the name and address of Riverland and its proprietress. accordingly. not he who denies. In the appreciation of evidence in criminal cases. Brighturn was thus constrained to refer all pending applications to Best One. A conviction for large scale illegal recruitment must be based on a finding in each case of illegal recruitment of three or more persons whether individually or as a group. contracting. and thereby affirmed the conviction of Hu with the modification that the amount of actual damages awarded to Garcia in the amount of P50. it is a basic tenet that the prosecution has the burden of proof in establishing the guilt of the accused for the offense with which he is charged. with the addition of a third element – the recruiter committed the same against three or more persons. namely: (1) the offender has no valid license orauthority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers. In the case at bar. Abril was required by Hu to pay the placement fee to Genoves in the amount of P44. Hu averred that when she examined such receipts. Accordingly. enlisting. and. Garcia suffered the same fate as her co-applicants. Recruitment and placement is “any act of canvassing. Genoves. While Garcia was told by Hu that the processing of her documents would be done at Best One. The appellate court found that Hu made enticing. NBI clearance and passport. Believing that Hu could send him abroad. contact services. private complainants went to NBI to file a complaint for illegal recruitment against Hu and Genoves. Despite such payment. whether for profit or not: Provided. When Hu was not able to refund the amounts paid as placement fees upon demand.” The conviction of appellant must rest not on the weakness of his defense. For its part. sentences the accused to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment. Garcia applied as Electronic Operator at Brighturn wherein she was entertained by Hu who informed her that Brighturn’s license was suspended. announcements were posted all over Brighturn’s premises warning job applicants to pay placement fees only to the cashier. the payment of which was made to Genoves at Brighturn’s office. Hu denied knowing Genoves. For his part.000.000. offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. Abril was assured by Hu that he would be deployed to Taiwan by December 2001 which was subsequently reset to April 2002. pay the fine of P500.000. this Petition raising the sole issue of: WHETHER OR NOT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING HU GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT IN LARGE SCALE. and to pay the requisite placement fee in the amount of P50. Despite several postponements. the prosecution failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that illegal recruitment was committed against three or more persons. the Court finds the accused Nenita Hu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale under Section 6 and 7(b) of Republic Act No. the amount of P60. a duly authorized land-based recruitment agency. According to Hu.  Hu admitted knowing the private complainants because these individuals went to her office demanding the return of their placement fees by showing their official receipts. and includes referrals. Orillano faithfully complied with these requirements including the placement fee.000. The Court of Appeals. which were signed by Genoves.000. After complying with the documentary requirements. should be paid at Brighturn. the Solicitor General joined the lower courts in finding that Hu was indeed guilty of Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale. Hu claimed that she was the President of Brighturn. utilizing. According to the Solicitor General. Abril was not able to leave the country. For her defense.National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance and ID pictures. Brighturn failed to pursue its application for renewal due its inability to post the required cash bond.e. Brighturn had foreign principals in Taiwan who were looking for skilled individuals willing to work in a foreign country. Orillano was interviewed at Brighturn by a Taiwanese principal in October 2001. and (2) he undertakes any activity within the meaning of “recruitment and placement” defined under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code. Orillano came to know of Brighturn thru Genoves. What we have uncovered upon careful scrutiny of the records was the fact that illegal recruitment was committed against only one person. all the elements of illegal recruitment in large scale had been established beyond reasonable doubt.000. the trial court rendered a Decision finding Hu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale. Joel Panguelo in the amount of P50.. “he who asserts. locally or abroad. however. While it is true that the law does not require that at least three victims testify at the trial.00. nevertheless. hiring or procuring workers. in any manner. another recruitment agency likewise located in Malate. that any person or entity which. individually or as group. i. On 4 January 2005.00. Garcia was then referred by Hu to Best One International (Best One). We cannot sustain the conviction for illegal recruitment in large scale. Hu alleged that Brighturn had an established recruitment procedure wherein applicants were only required to pay the corresponding placement fees after the POEA had already approved their employment contracts.” The crime becomes Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale when the foregoing two elements concur. it is necessary that there is sufficient evidence proving that the offense was committed against three or more persons. Hence. Conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.000.00. Illegal recruitment cannot successfully attach to the allegations of Panguelo. but on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. against Garcia alone. the promise of an employment abroad never came to pass. Almost predictably. Orillano was not able to leave the country. promising or advertising for employment. As shown in Official Receipts dated 9 October 2001 and 26 October 2000. Illegal recruitment is committed when two elements concur. in its Decision dated 9 October 2007. that is. Abril paid the whole amount of P44. In April 2002. Abril and Orillano. Hu informed Orillano to submit a medical certificate. the placement fee. which moved private complainants to part with their money and pay the placement fee. transporting.
Underscoring the significance of the number of victims was the disquisition of Justice Florenz Regalado in People v. There appears to be no sound reason to require that a separate action be still filed considering that the facts to be proved in the civil case have already been established in the criminal proceedings. Through this hoax. Failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of Hu beyond reasonable doubt does not absolve her of her civil obligation to return the money she collected from private complaints Panguelo. plus legal interest in accordance with our ruling in Domagsang v. it is qualified to illegal recruitment in large scale which provides a higher penalty under Article 39(a) of the same Code. It is unfortunate that the prosecution evidence did not pass the test of reasonable doubt. since the testimonies of its witnesses unveil a contradicting inference -. It is well settled that acquittal based on reasonable doubt does not preclude an award for civil damages. civil liability is not extinguished where the acquittal is based on lack of proof beyond reasonable doubt. as in the case at bar. Ortiz-Miyake: It is evident that in illegal recruitment cases. This argument is not novel. Abril and Orillano was undertaken by Hu with the required authority from the POEA. the accused may be convicted of simple illegal recruitment which is punishable with a lower penalty under Article 39(c) of the Labor Code. be proven by the prosecution. Garcia testified that she applied for employment in Taiwan for the position of Electronic Operator thru Brighturn in April 2002. The amounts may consequently be proved by the testimony of witnesses. a conviction for the offense can be very well justified. the act of Hu in referring Garcia to another recruitment agency squarely fell within the purview of recruitment that was undertaken by Hu after her authority to recruit and place workers already expired on 17 December 2001. There. a period wherein Brighturn’s license to engage in recruitment and placement was still in full force and effect.the number of persons victimized is determinative. this Court ruled: “x x x the absence of receipts in a criminal case for illegal recruitment does not warrant the acquittal of the accused and is not fatal to the case of the prosecution. nevertheless.that the recruitment of Panguelo. The defense argues that a receipt is the best evidence to prove delivery of money and the absence thereof shows that no payment was made. the accused was ordered to pay the face value of the check with 12% legal interest per annum. The Court has previously ruled that the absence of receipts evidencing payment does not defeat a criminal prosecution for illegal recruitment. which is an essential element of estafa. Due to the alleged suspension of Brighturn’s license.) Regrettably. we cannot affirm the conviction of Hu for the offense of illegal recruitment in large scale. Apparently. considering that that the trial court was in the best position to ascertain credibility issues. the prosecution. Hu referred her to a neighboring agency (Best One). Villas. since only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases. Where illegal recruitment is committed against a lone victim. In People v. having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during trial. which unmistakably demonstrated how Hu successfully enticed her to part with a considerable amount of money in exchange for an employment abroad which was never realized. This finding was adopted by the appellate court. which means the act of passing along or forwarding an applicant after an initial interview to a selected employer. In People vs. The absence of receipts in the case of illegal recruitment does not warrant the acquittal of the appellant and is not fatal to the prosecution’s case.since they testified that they accomplished their preemployment requirements through Brighturn from June 2001 up to October of the same year. ( emphasis supplied. Failure of Garcia to present proof of payment is irrelevant. Abril and Orillano. four of whom were presented during the trial. Corollarily. While we strongly condemn the pervasive proliferation of illegal job recruiters and syndicates preying on innocent people anxious to obtain employment abroad. Hu deluded private complainants into believing that she had the capacity to send them abroad for employment. is included in recruitment. Irrefragably. the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of Hu of the charge of illegal recruitment against Garcia when the former referred the latter to another agency without the license or authority to do so. “The Statute of Frauds and the rules of evidence do not require the presentation of receipts in order to prove the existence of recruitment agreement and the procurement of fees in illegal recruitment cases. reckoned from the filing of the information until the finality of the judgment. failed to establish that Hu engaged in illegal recruitment acts against at least three of these complainants. As long as the prosecution is able to establish through credible and testimonial evidence. As long as the witnesses had positively shown through their respective testimonies that the accused is the one involved in the prohibited recruitment.  Undoubtedly. The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused only when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. Neither does her acquittal herein exempt Hu from subsequent criminal prosecution for estafa provided that deceit. he may be convicted of the offense despite the want of receipts. private complainants were not able to leave for work abroad or get their money back. as it turned out. 30 September 1996]. the bare denials of Hu have no probative value when ranged against the affirmative declarations of Garcia. even if the latter failed to present receipts for the payments she had made. This leaves us a case of simple illegal recruitment committed against Garcia. The act of referral. placement or bureau. the prosecution explicitly proved that private complainants parted with substantial amounts of money upon the prodding and enticement of Hu on the false pretense that she had the capacity to deploy them for employment abroad. Court of Appeals. nonetheless.” . this Court affirmed Neither is there merit in the contention of the defense that appellant should be exonerated for failure of the prosecution to present any receipt proving that private complainants paid her anything.  While there were six private complainants in this case. In the end. we find the pieces of evidence insufficient to prove the guilt of Hu beyond reasonable doubt. Pabalan [262 SCRA 574. The trial court gave full credence to the testimony of Garcia. failure of the prosecution to prove by convincing evidence that the offense is committed against the minimum number of persons required by law is fatal to its cause of action. but Hu continued collecting placement fees from her. the prosecution failed to sufficiently establish a case to warrant a conviction. In offenses in which the number of victims is essential. such as in the present petition. where the offense is committed against three or more persons. of securing employment abroad. In the present case. Thus. but clearly proved a just debt owed to the private complainant. Thus. she was able to convince private complainants to surrender their money to her in the vain hope. Aptly. that the appellant had engaged in illegal recruitment.
Garcia in the amount of P60. since only one applicant abroad was recruited by Hu without license and authority from the POEA. with 12% legal interest per annum.00.000. In addition.00 and to indemnify private complainant Evangeline Garcia in the amount of P60. as in this case.000. Joel Panguelo in the amount of P50.00. of their money in exchange of empty promises.000. a penalty of eight (8) to twelve (12) years of imprisonment should be meted out to Hu.-CR. the instant petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. does not discharge her from her civil obligation to return the placement fees paid by private complainants.000. Accused-appellant Nenita B. Accordingly.000. the Court will have to discard the conviction for illegal recruitment in large scale meted out by the RTC. reckoned from the filing of the information until the finality of the judgment. the court shall impose on the accused an indeterminate sentence. desperate to work abroad. reckoned from the filing of the information until the finality of the judgment – is imposed. with 12% interest per annum. WHEREFORE.-H. Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that if the offense is punishable by a special law.000. She is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of P500.000. 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.000.000.Abril in the amount of P44. A new Decision is hereby entered convicting the accused-appellant of the offense of Simple Illegal Recruitment committed against private complainant Evangeline Garcia. This Court cannot be drawn to the ingenious ploy of these illegal recruiters in withholding receipts from their victims in their vain attempt to evade liability.000. however. with 12% interest per annum.R.00. appellant has not shown any reason to justify a modification or reversal of the trial court’s finding. and indemnity to private complainants -. a fine in the amount of P500. in actual fact. and Eric Orillano in the amount of P50. SO ORDERED. The Decision dated 9 October 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Our ruling in People v.000. 02243 affirming the conviction of the accused-appellant Nenita B. Accordingly.00) nor more than five hundred thousand pesos (P500.00. And to these testimonies. received payments from them. She is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years to twelve (12) years of imprisonment. In fine. . 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. Panguelo in the amount of P50.00.00).00 and Orillano in the amount of P50. 8042. Hu’s unsuccessful indictment for illegal recruitment in large scale. We are not unaware of the proliferation of these scheming illegal recruiters who cunningly rob Filipino workers.00. Hu should be held responsible for simple illegal recruitment only.C. Villas that the absence of receipts in illegal recruitment case does not warrant the acquittal of the accused has been reiterated in several cases.000. No. On the other hand. Hu for the offense of Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale and sentencing her to life imprisonment is hereby VACATED. as reckoned above.00.00. the trial court accorded credence. Hu is likewise ordered to indemnify private complainants Paul Abril in the amount of P44. Under Section 7(a) of Republic Act No.The private complainants have convincingly testified that the accused enticed them to apply and.