Japanese couple face estafa raps

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


A JAPANESE couple who were charged back in 2004 are facing charges before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 after they allegedly duped four victims to pay the processing fee of documents for an overseas employment which never materialized.

Facing one count of large scale illegal recruitment and four counts of estafa are Honorato and Linda Nakagawa. They were charged back in 2004 yet it was only this year that the hearings for their case were held since they were arrested by authorities earlier this year.

Prosecutor Sharuddin Sencio Jr., found probable cause to charge the two based on the complaints of Isidronio Ferrando, Imee Echavia George Lazo and Eduardo Catamisan all hailing from Toril, Davao City.

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The complainants stated in their joint-affidavit that the respondents were workers of the now defunct Filipino Potential Foundation, a recruitment agency located at the back of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Davao office along J.P. Laurel Ave.

Sometime in June 2003, the respondents allegedly accompanied the victims to their office for the briefing and promised them that they will be working for a factory in Japan after they have paid for the processing fee for the necessary documents.

Echavia reportedly paid a total of P75,000 while Lazo and Ferrando shelled out P70,000 apiece. Catamisan, meanwhile, paid P50,000.

Months have passed yet the respondents kept telling the victims that the processing of their documents was experiencing delays. It was then in 2004 that the victims found out that the respondents' agency was not authorized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

They tried to contact the couple but to no avail hence, they pressed charges.

The respondents were arrested by authorities by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by RTC Branch 16 Presiding Judge Emmanuel Carpio.

The couple entered a not guilty plea last April 24. They appeared before the sala of RTC Branch 16 on Friday for their pre-trial but Carpio re-scheduled their pre-trial in October as the Public Attorney's Office is still assessing whether the respondents are qualified to be given free legal aid.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 23, 2014.

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