Labor Law

PEOPLE v. MELISSA CHUA a.k.a. Clarita Ng Chua, G.R. No. 187052, September 13, 2012 Illegal Recruitment

FACTS:

Rey P. Tajadao testified that in August 2002, his fellow complainant, Alberto A. Aglanao, introduced him to appellant Chua. 

Appellant offered him a job as a factory worker in Taiwan for deployment within the month. 

Appellant then required him to undergo medical examination and pay a placement fee of ₱ 80,000. Chua assured Tajadao that whoever pays the application fee the earliest can leave sooner. 

Thus, Tajadao delivered to appellant staggered payments to the Golden Gate International Office. Said payments are evidenced by a voucher signed by appellant.

After completing payment, Tajadao was made to sign a contract containing stipulations as to salary and conditions of work. 

On several occasions, thereafter, he returned to appellant’s office to follow-up on his application. After several visits, however, Tajadao noticed that all the properties of Golden Gate in its Paragon Tower Office were already gone.

Tajadao filed a complaint for illegal recruitment against appellant before thePOEA. It was only then that he learned that appellant Chua was not licensed to recruit workers for overseas employment.

Another private complainant, Billy R. Danan, testified that Chua also offered employment abroad but failed to deploy him. 

Roylan Ursulum, the fourth private complainant, testified that he too went to the Golden Gate Office to seek employment as a factory worker. He was told Ursulum that the first applicants to pay the placement fee of ₱ 80,000 shall be deployed ahead of the others. Thus, Ursulum obtained a loan of ₱ 80,000 to cover the placement fee. 

As with the rest of the private complainants, Ursulum never made it to Taiwan. 

In her defense, appellant Chua denies having recruited private complainants for overseas employment. According to appellant, she was only a cashier at Golden Gate, and denied any knowledge of whether the agency was licensed to recruit workers during her tenure as it has been delisted.

The RTC found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment in large scale and four counts of estafa.

On appeal, the CA affirmed with modification the RTC ruling.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to convict appellant for Illegal Recruitment in large scale.

RULING:

The crime of illegal recruitment is defined and penalized under Sections 6 and 7 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as follows:

SEC. 6. Definition. – For purposes of this Act, 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 a 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. It shall likewise include the following acts, x x x:

x 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. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a group.

In order to hold a person liable for illegal recruitment, the following elements must concur: 

(1) the offender undertakes any of the activities within the meaning of “recruitment and placement” under Article 13(b)20 of the Labor Code, or any of the prohibited practices enumerated under Article

34 of the Labor Code (now Section 6 of Republic Act No. 8042) and 

(2) the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers. 

In the case of illegal recruitment in large scale, a third element is added: that the offender commits any of the acts of recruitment and placement against three or more persons, individually or as a group. All three elements are present in the case at bar.

Inarguably, appellant Chua engaged in recruitment when she represented to private complainants that she could send them to Taiwan as factory workers upon submission of the required documents and payment of the placement fee. 

The four private complainants positively identified appellant as the person who promised them employment as factory workers in Taiwan for a fee of ₱ 80,000. More importantly, Severino Maranan the Senior Labor Employment Officer of the POEA, presented a Certification dated December 5, 2002, issued by Director Felicitas Q. Bay, to the effect that appellant Chua is not licensed by the POEA to recruit workers for overseas employment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.