THE case against three suspected large-scale illegal recruiters was raffled off to Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10.

Based on the list of raffled cases from the RTC Office of the Clerk of Court, the case against Louisa Paloma, Paz Caalim, and Catherine Alacapa will be tried at the sala of RTC Branch 10 Judge Retrina Fuentes.

The three are facing charges after they were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inside a mall in Davao City last June 3.

Prosecutor Oliver Saniel, in a resolution dated June 16, found probable cause to charge the three, based on the NBI report that revealed they have been reported by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to have recruited about 10,000 people since December last year when they started their operation in Mindanao.

NBI reported that the complainants were promised jobs by the respondents in Japan, Korea, Italy, Hungary, and Vietnam where they can choose to work at Hilton Hotel for $900 salary per month, or as a dairy farmer at Kirin Group with a monthly pay of P73,000.

It was also reported that under the recruiters' direct-hiring scheme, they will collect P8,000 or P15,000 as an initial requirement for their application and will then be asked to go to Manila to await the processing of their application.

Saniel "finds that the arrest is valid because the respondents conspiring with each other were caught in the act committing the crime" thus recommended for the three to be charged with the violation of Republic Act (RA) 8042 or the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995" as amended by RA 10022.

For estafa charges, Saniel also said that there are sufficient evidence showing that the respondents are not POEA-licensed and recruiters for work abroad.

"There is evidence showing that the respondents pretend to possess agency business to deceive the complainants to pay for the processing for employment abroad," his resolution stated.

If proven guilty, the accused will face lifetime imprisonment. (KGL)