A WOMAN represented that she had the capacity to recruit and employ Filipinos for work in Korea but she did not have a valid license to recruit workers. However, there were victims who fell prey to the recruiter’s representations. They gave her money expecting that they would be able to work in Korea. But the recruiter was not able to bring the victims to Korea. Instead, she asked for an additional payment. The victims then went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in order to ask for assistance. The NBI initiated entrapment proceedings which resulted to the arrest of the recruiter.

The recruiter claimed that she was also a victim of the agency and even denied having transacted with the victims. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the latter affirmed that the recruiter is guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale because the recruiter engaged in activities of recruitment and placement, with no valid license. Furthermore, the offense qualified as large scale because it was committed against three or more persons. All the victims identified the recruiter as the one who made representations and who collected their payments.

The Supreme Court further ruled that the recruiter may also be held liable for estafa because the following elements are present: “(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.”

The recruiter was sentenced to life imprisonment and to pay fines to the victims. (People of the Philippines vs. Matuco, G.R. 200884 [2014])

To avoid being a victim of illegal recruitment, check first with the POEA if the recruiter has a valid license. For other pointers, check http://www.poea.gov.ph.