Monday, March 19, 2012

People vs. Sagaydo [G.R. No. 124671-75 September 29, 2000]

Facts: Accused Linda Sagayado was convicted before the regional trial court of illegal recruitment in large scale and fur charges of estafa. Complainants Gina Cleto, Rogelio Tebeb, Nata Pita and Jessie Bolinao recounted that the accused Sagayado propsed and encourage them for employment abroad in Korea. Complainants gave their respective payments to the accused for the processing of their travel papers and passport. They were assured of their flight and of employment abroad. However, months have passed but their flight never pushed through. They then inquired at the Baguio POEA office whether the accused was a license recruiter to which they receive certification that the accused was not a license recruiter. 

In her defense, the accused denied having recruited any of the private complainants. She claimed that they came to her voluntarily after being informed that she was able to send her three (3) sons to Korea. While accused admitted having received money from complainants Gina Cleto and Naty Pita, she said she used their money to buy their plane tickets. Gina and Naty were not able to leave because the Korean government imposed a visa requirement beginning January, 1992. When asked why she was not able to return the money of Gina and Naty, accused said that she returned the plane tickets to the Tour Master travel Agency for refund but said agency did not make reimbursements. With respect to complainants Jessie Bolinao and Rogelio Tibeb, the accused denied having received money from them. 

Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale. 

Held: Yes, Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three or more person, individually or as a group. This crime requires proof that the accused: (1) engaged in the recruitment and placement of workers defined under Article 13 or in any of the prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) does not have a license or authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers; and (3) committed the infraction against three or more persons, individually or as a group.” 

All the requisites are present in this case. The accused representations to the private complainants that she could send them to Korea to work as factory workers, constituting a promise of employment which amounted to recruitment as defined under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code. From the testimonies of the private complainants, there is no denying that accused gave the complainants the distinct impression that she 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. As against the positive and categorical testimonies of the complainants, mere denial of accused cannot prevail. As to the license requirement, the record showed that accused-appellant did not have the authority to recruit for employment abroad as the certification issued by the POEA in Baguio City.

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