THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 filed criminal charges against a Japanese national, who allegedly operated a call center in Cebu City without a permit.

Lawyer Ricardo Diaz, NBI 7 assistant director, filed the complaint before the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor, accusing Eichi Chiba of violating Article 302 of Presidential Decree 442, or the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Chiba, who claimed to be the president of Japan Intertrade Call Center Corp. (JICC), allegedly operated the firm without an alien employment permit (AEP) from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7, the NBI 7 said.

Chiba was among the 60 Japanese nationals the NBI 7 arrested last Sept. 11 for operating the JICC at the Cebu IT Park in Barangay Apas.

An AEP is a document issued by Dole that authorizes a foreign national to work in the country. It’s also required to secure a work and employment visa from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.

The arrest of the Japanese nationals came after Municipal Trial Court in Cities Executive Judge Monalila Tecson issued the search warrant.

Two former JICC workers had tipped the NBI 7 about the alleged illegal operations. They said the accused had been operating in the country for five years.

Possible sentence

Dole 7 issued a certification to the NBI 7, stating that no working permit was issued to JICC.

When the warrant was served, NBI 7 agents chanced upon Chiba presiding over a conference with the firm’s other officers.

Authorities asked for his working permit, but he failed to provide it.

Replying to the charges, Chiba said he is exempted from securing a working permit since he is the president of JICC.

But Dole 7 Director Exequiel Sarcuaga said he’s not exempted.

Chiba allegedly employed Japanese students to work as call center agents for JICC to avoid paying taxes, depriving opportunity for the labor sector, the NBI 7 said.

Chiba may face jail time of three months until three years and a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 if convicted. The company can also be fined.

He may also be deported after conviction.