Charges of estafa, illegal recruitment can be filed simultaneously
"My husband and his four cousins were offered to work by a certain Mr. Reyes as company drivers in London for a fee of P100,000 in August 2017. They gave Mr. Reyes P5,000 each as partial payment when the latter told them that he owns a recruitment agency located in Malate, Manila. Mr. Reyes promised to secure their visas and employment contracts within two months. On their third meeting, my husband and his cousins signed their employment contracts. They were asked to pay P50,000 each as their second partial payment. Thereafter, Mr. Reyes stopped communicating with them. He neither answered their calls nor replied to their messages. Last July, they asked Mr. Reyes to reimburse them the partial payments they had given him but Mr. Reyes never talked to them again. My husband and his friends are now contemplating filing charges against Mr. Reyes. Many of our friends are telling us to file an illegal recruitment case against Mr. Reyes, others are telling us to file a criminal case for estafa. My husband and his cousins are confused. We will wait for your advice.
Thank you very much,Jane
Dear Jane,Mr. Reyes may be charged and convicted separately of illegal recruitment and estafa. To answer your question, we shall refer to Article 315 (2) (a) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) of the Philippines, to wit:
“Art. 315. Swindling (estafa). — Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned xxx (2) 2. 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, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits. xxx” (Emphasis supplied)In the case of Philippines vs. Solina (G.R. No. 196784, January 13, 2016), the Supreme Court through Honorable Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta stated that the elements of estafa are: “(1) that the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (2) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party of third person.”
Mr. Reyes defrauded your husband and his cousins into believing that he had the authority and capability to send them for overseas employment in London, despite him not being licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to recruit workers for overseas employment. Because of such statements, your husband and his cousins parted with their money in exchange for said promise of future work in London. However, the promise of Mr. Reyes never materialized.Section 5 of Republic Act (R.A.) 10222 (An Act Amending Republic Act 8042, Otherwise Known As The Migrant Workers And Overseas Filipinos Act Of 1995) provides:“Xxx illegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers and includes referring, contract services, promising or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by non-licensee or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines: Provided, That any such non-licensee or non-holder who, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or more persons shall be deemed so engaged xxx. 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. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group. xxx The filing of an offense punishable under this Act shall be without prejudice to the filing of cases punishable under other existing laws, rules or regulations.” (Emphasis Supplied)In this case, Mr. Reyes had no license to recruit or engage in placement activities. On separate occasions, Mr. Reyes met and recruited your husband and his three cousins, giving them the impression he had the capability to facilitate applications for employment as company drivers in London.
The acts committed by Mr. Reyes against your husband and his cousins constitute violation of R.A. 10022 and estafa punishable under Article 315 (2) (a) of the RPC.This opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or further elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Charges of estafa, illegal recruitment can be filed simultaneously"
was written by Mary
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and updated on 14 September 2021