Monday, March 19, 2012

People vs. Arabia [G.R. No. 138431-36 September 12, 2001]

Facts: In October 1992, private complainants Violeta de la Cruz, Remelyn Jacinto, Teresita Lorenzo, Rolando Rustia and Noel de la Cruz were introduced by the latter's mother, private complainant Pelagia de la Cruz, to appellant Dioscora Arabia, a recruiter of job applicants for a factory in Taiwan. 

They all saw appellants at Quezon City where the appellants convinced them and other applicants to apply for jobs in Taiwan that would give them a monthly pay. Service fees for processing and placement, private complainants were told by appellants Arabia and Tomas, would be P16, 000.00 for each of them. 

Each of the private complainants give certain amount to Arabia at the latter's residence and in the presence of Tomas. Arabia, however, did not issue any receipt upon her assurance that she would not fool them. Various requirements, such as pictures, passports and bio-data, were submitted also by private complainants. 

However, private complainants were not able to leave for Taiwan because appellants told them that the person who was supposed to accompany them to Taiwan did not arrive. The departure date was thus reset but private complainants were still unable to leave. 

Private complainants asked for the return of their money as they were no longer interested in working abroad. They were informed by Arabia's sister, however, that appellants were arrested by the NBI and detained at the Quezon City Jail. Records also showed that appellants were neither licensed nor authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment. 

Issue: Whether the accused-appellants committed illegal recruitment in large scale. 

Held: Large-scale illegal recruitment has the following essential elements:The accused undertook recruitment activity defined under Article 13 or any prohibited practice under Art. 34 of the Labor Code, he did not have the license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers and he committed the same against three or more persons, individually or as a group. 

These essential elements are present in this case. Accused-appellants recruited at least four persons, giving them the impression that they had the capability to send them to Taiwan for employment. They collected various amounts allegedly for recruitment and placement fees without license or authority to do so. It is settled that the fact that an accused in an illegal recruitment case did not issue the receipts for amounts received from the complainants has no bearing on his culpability so long as complainants show through their respective testimonies and affidavits that the accused was involved in the prohibited recruitment. Thus, the accused-appellants were guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale. 

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