People v. Nellie Cabais y Gamuela G.R. No. 129070. March 16, 2001.
April 11, 2011
People v. Nellie Cabais y Gamuela
G.R. No. 129070. March 16, 2001.
Accused was convicted of illegal recruitment committed in large scale by a syndicate, and sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine. She was also convicted for two counts of estafa, and sentenced to (a) in Criminal Case No. 13999-R, to six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to seven (7) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party Joan Merante, in the amount of P40,000.00 as actual damages, and costs; (b) in Criminal Case No. 14000-R, to six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party, Nancy Oidi, in the amount of P21,000.00 as actual damages, and costs.
The essential elements of illegal recruitment committed in large scale are: (1) that the accused engaged in acts of recruitment and placement of workers as defined under Article 13 (b) or in any prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) that the accused had not complied with the guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the requirement to secure a license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers, either locally or overseas; and (3) that the accused committed the unlawful acts against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group.
Accused-appellant contends that she was not involved in recruitment but was merely an employee of a recruitment agency. An employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that he actively and consciously participated in illegal recruitment. In this case, accused was the one who informed complainants of job prospects in Korea and the requirements for deployment. She also received money from them as placement fees. All of the complainants testified that they personally met accused-appellant and transacted with her regarding the overseas job placement offers. Complainants parted with their money, evidenced by receipts signed by accused Cabais and accused Forneas. Thus, accused-appellant actively participated in the recruitment of the complainants.
Furthermore, accused-appellant did not possess any license to engage in recruitment activities, as evidenced by a certification from the POEA and the testimony of a representative of said government agency. Her acts constituted recruitment, and considering that she admittedly had no license or authority to recruit workers for overseas employment, accused-appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment. Despite the fact that she was just an ordinary employee of the company, her criminal liability would still stand for being a conspirator with the corporate officers in undertaking illegal recruitment activities. Since the recruitment involves three or more persons, accused-appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment in a large scale punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code with life imprisonment and a fine of one hundred thousand pesos.
As to the charges of estafa, accused-appellant contends that she is not liable for the offenses charged because she did not appropriate for her own use the money given to her by complainants as placement and passport fees. The elements of estafa are: (a) that the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (b) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. From the foregoing, the fact that the money was appropriated by accused for her own use is not an element of the crime of estafa. Thus, accused-appellant Cabais’ contention under such ground is untenable. Moreover, accused-appellant misrepresented herself to complainants as one who can make arrangements for job placements in Korea. Complainants were successfully induced to part with their money, causing them damage and prejudice. Consequently, accused-appellant is guilty of estafa.
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