Labor Law

People v. Teresita “Tessie” Laogo G.R. No. 176264 January 10, 2011 Illegal Recruitment

FACTS:

An Information was filed against appellant Teresita “Tessie” Laogo and a certain Susan Navarro, charging them of the crime of Illegal Recruitment (Large Scale).

Navarro met the complainants in a town fiesta, and invited them into her house where she introduced them to appellant. Navarro told the complainants that she would be able to help them secure employment abroad, and were promised to be sent abroad by Susan and herein appellant as cooks and assistant cooks. 

This prompted complainants to pay certain amounts to Navarro as placement fees, and were issued receipts bearing the logo of Laogo Travel Consultancy, the company of appellant. 

Complainants later found out that appellant and Navarro were not registered with the DOLE as a recruitment agency. Appellant was found guilty by the RTC, and her conviction was affirmed by the CA. 

Appellant challenged her conviction, insisting that she had no hand in the recruitment of the complainants and maintains that the recruitment activities were made solely upon the initiative of accused Navarro.

The appellate court rendered the assailed decision affirming appellant’s conviction.

ISSUE:

Whether or not appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment.

RULING:

We affirm appellant’s conviction.

Recruitment and placement refers to the act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not. When a person or entity, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons, that person or entity shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.

Article 38(a) of the Labor Code, as amended, specifies that recruitment activities undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority are deemed illegal and punishable by law. 

And when the illegal recruitment is committed against three or more persons, individually or as a group, then it is deemed committed in large scale and carries with it stiffer penalties as the same is deemed a form of economic sabotage.

But to prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accused, without being duly authorized by law, gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send them abroad for work, such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. 

It is important that there must at least be a promise or offer of an employment from the person posing as a recruiter, whether locally or abroad.

Here, both the trial court and the CA found that the follow up transactions between appellant and her victims were done inside the said travel agency. Moreover, all four receipts issued to the victims bear the name and logo of Laogo Travel Consultancy, with two of the said receipts personally signed by appellant herself. Indubitably, appellant and her co-accused acting together made complainants believe that they were transacting with a legitimate recruitment agency and that Laogo Travel Consultancy had the authority to recruit them and send them abroad for work when in truth and in fact it had none as certified by the POEA.  Absent any showing that the trial court and the CA overlooked or misappreciated certain significant facts and circumstances, which if properly considered, would change the result, we are bound by said findings.

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