Bar Q & A, Labor Law

Cases and Bar Q & A in Illegal Recruitment v. Estafa and Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale

Illegal Recruitment v. Estafa

People vs. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 214500, June 28, 2017

It is well-established in jurisprudence that a person may be charged and convicted for both illegal recruitment and estafa. The reason therefor is not hard to discern: illegal recruitment is malum prohibitum, while estafa is mala in se. In the first, the criminal intent of the accused is not necessary for conviction. In the second, such intent is imperative. Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code is committed by any person who defrauds another by using fictitious name, or falsely pretends to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of similar deceits executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud.

Nevertheless, even if appellant was acquitted in these two estafa cases, it must be clarified that she can still be convicted of illegal recruitment. This is because while in estafa, damage is essential, the same is not an essential element in the crime of illegal recruitment. It is the lack of the necessary license or authority, not the fact of payment that renders the recruitment activity of appellant unlawful. 

As long as the prosecution is able to establish through credible testimonial evidence that the accused-appellant has engaged in illegal recruitment, a conviction for the offense can very well be justified.

People v. Cagalingan G.R. No. 198664, November 23, 2016

Parenthetically, there is no question that accused spouses are likewise liable for estafa under Article 315 (2) (a) of the Revised Penal Code. We are convinced that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt Accused Spouses’ guilt for three (3) counts of Estafa.

x x x x

There are three ways of committing estafa under Article 315 (a) of the Revised Penal Code: 

(1) by using a fictitious name; 

(2) by falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions; and 

(3) by means of other similar deceits. 

Under this class of estafa, the element of deceit is indispensable. Likewise, 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.

In the present case, private complainants were led to believe by accused spouses that they possessed the power and qualifications to provide them with work in Macau when in fact they were neither licensed nor authorized to do so. Accused spouses made it appear to private complainants that Beatriz was requested by her employer to hire workers for Macau, when in fact she was not. They even recruited their own relatives in the guise of helping them get better jobs with higher pays abroad for them to improve their standard of living. Likewise, private complainants were deceived by accused spouses by pretending that the latter could arrange their employment in Macau, China. With these misrepresentations, false assurances and deceit, they suffered damages and they were forced to part with their hard-earned money, as one of them even testified to have mortgaged her house and another, to have borrowed money from a lending institution just to raise the alleged processing fees.

People v. Mateo G.R. No. 198012, April 22, 2015

Anent the charge for estafa, “[w]ell-settled is the rule that a person convicted for illegal recruitment under the [law] may, for the same acts, be separately convicted for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the [Revised Penal Code]. The elements of estafa are: (1) the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit; and (2) the offended party or a third party suffered damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation.”17 All these elements are likewise present in this case. As aptly held by the CA:

Here, the appellants Mateo and Lapiz committed deceit against the private complainants by making it appear as though they had the authority and resources to send them to Japan for employment; that there were available jobs for them in Japan for which they would be hired although, in truth, there were none; and, that by reason or on the strength of such assurance, the private complainants parted with their money in payment of the placement fee, documentation and hotel accommodations. All these representations were actually false and fraudulent and thus, the appellants must be made liable under par 2(a), Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code.

People v. Fernandez G.R. No. 199211 June 4, 2014

We point out that conviction under the Labor Code for illegal recruitment does not preclude punishment under the Revised Penal Code for the crime of estafa. We are convinced that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that appellant violated Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, which provides that estafa is committed by any person who defrauds another by using a fictitious name; or by falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business; by imaginary transactions or similar forms of deceit executed prior to or simultaneous with the fraud.

The appellant’s act of falsely pretending to possess power and qualifications to deploy the complainants to Hongkong, even if he did not have the authority or license for the purpose, undoubtedly constitutes estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code. The elements of deceit and damage are clearly present; the appellant’s false pretenses were the very cause that induced the complainants to part with their money.

Sy v. People G.R. No. 183879  April 14, 2010

Illegal recruitment and estafa cases may be filed simultaneously or separately. The filing of charges for illegal recruitment does not bar the filing of estafa, and vice versa. Sy’s acquittal in the illegal recruitment case does not prove that she is not guilty of estafa. Illegal recruitment and estafa are entirely different offenses and neither one necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the other. 

A person who is convicted of illegal recruitment may, in addition, be convicted of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the RPC. In the same manner, a person acquitted of illegal recruitment may be held liable for estafa. Double jeopardy will not set in because illegal recruitment is malum prohibitum, in which there is no necessity to prove criminal intent, whereas estafa is malum in se, in the prosecution of which, proof of criminal intent is necessary.

The act complained of in the instant case is penalized under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the RPC, wherein estafa is committed by any person who shall defraud another by false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. It is committed by using fictitious name, or by pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

The elements of estafa by means of deceit are the following, viz.: (a) that there must be a false pretense or fraudulent representation as to his power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions; (b) that such false pretense or fraudulent representation was made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (c) that the offended party relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means and was induced to part with his money or property; and (d) that, as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.

In the instant case, all the foregoing elements are present.

Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale

People vs. Matheus, G.R. No. 198795, June 07, 2017

Elements—The offense of illegal recruitment in large scale has the following elements:(1) the person charged undertook any recruitment activity as defined under Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 8042; (2) accused did not have the license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment of workers; and (3) accused committed the same against three or more persons individually or as a group. 

People vs. Racho, G.R. No. 227505, Oct. 02, 2017

A person or entity engaged in recruitment and placement activities without the requisite authority is engaged in illegal recruitment; definition of “recruitment and placement” under Art. 13 (b) of the Labor Code, illustrated in this case.

The definition of “recruitment and placement” under Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code includes promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not, provided, that any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee, employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. Thus, Racho’s act of offering and promising to deploy the complainants to East Timor for work and collecting placement fees from more than three (3) persons, despite not being authorized to do so, renders her liable for Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale.

2015 Bar Exam

I.

(A) Rocket Corporation is a domestic corporation registered with the SEC, with 30% of its authorized capital stock owned by foreigners and 70% of its authorized capital stock owned by Filipinos. Is Rocket Corporation allowed to engage in the recruitment and placement of workers, locally and overseas? Briefly state the basis for your answer. (2%)

(B) When does the recruitment of workers become an act of economic sabotage? (2%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) No. Article 27 of the Labor Code mandates that pertinently, for

a Corporation to validly engage in recruitment and placement of workers, locally and overseas, at least seventy-five percent (75%) of its authorized and voting capital stock must be owned and controlled by Filipino citizens. Since only 70% of its authorized capital stock is owned by Filipinos, it consequently cannot validly engage in recruitment and placement of workers, locally and overseas.

(B) Under Section 6(m) of RA 8042, illegal recruitment is considered economic sabotage if it is committed by a syndicate or is large scale in scope. It is syndicated illegal recruitment if the illegal recruitment is carried out by three (3) or more conspirators; and it is large scale in scope when it is committed against three (3) more persons, individually or as a group.

2010 Bar Exam

XXI

A was approached for possible overseas deployment to Dubai by X, an interviewer of job applicants for Alpha Personnel Services, Inc., an overseas recruitment agency. X required A to submit certain documents (passport, NBI clearance, medical certificate) and to pay P25,000 as processing fee. Upon payment of the said amount to the agency cashier, A was advised to wait for his visa. After five months, A visited the office of Alpha Personnel Services, Inc. during which X told him that he could no longer be deployed for employment abroad. A was informed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that while Alpha Personnel Services, Inc. was a licensed agency, X was not regiatered as its employce, contrary to POEA Rules and Regulations. Under POEA Rules and Regulations, the obligation to register personnel with the POEA belongs to the officers of a recruitment agency.

May X be held criminally lable for illegal recruitment? Explain. (2%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

X performed his work with the knowledge that he works for a licensed recruitment agency. He is in no position to know that the officers of said recruitment agency failed to register him as its personnel (People v. Chowdury, 325 SCRA 572 [2000]. The fault not being

attributable to him, he may be considered to have apparent authority to represent Alpha in recruitment for overseas employment.

May the officers having control, management or direction of Alpha Personnel Services, Inc. be held criminally liable for illegal recruitment? Explain. (3%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Yes. Alpha, being a licensed recruitment agency, still has obligations to A for processing his papers for overseas employment. Under Section 6[m] of Rep. Act No. 8042, failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the worker’s fault, amounts to illegal recruitment.

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