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G.R. Nos.

L-58674-77 July 11, 1990 placement consists of an offer or promise of employment to such persons and always
in consideration of a fee. The other acts mentioned in the body of the article may
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, involve even only one person and are not necessarily for profit.
vs.
HON. DOMINGO PANIS, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Neither interpretation is acceptable. We fail to see why the proviso should speak only
Zambales & Olongapo City, Branch III and SERAPIO ABUG, respondents. of an offer or promise of employment if the purpose was to apply the requirement of
two or more persons to all the acts mentioned in the basic rule. For its part, the
CRUZ, J: petitioner does not explain why dealings with two or more persons are needed where
the recruitment and placement consists of an offer or promise of employment but not
when it is done through "canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing,
The basic issue in this case is the correct interpretation of Article 13(b) of P.D. 442, hiring or procuring (of) workers.
otherwise known as the Labor Code, reading as follows:
As we see it, the proviso was intended neither to impose a condition on the basic rule
(b) Recruitment and placement' refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, nor to provide an exception thereto but merely to create a presumption. The
contracting, transporting, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referrals, presumption is that the individual or entity is engaged in recruitment and placement
contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or whenever he or it is dealing with two or more persons to whom, in consideration of a
abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, fee, an offer or promise of employment is made in the course of the "canvassing,
in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring (of) workers. "
persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.
The number of persons dealt with is not an essential ingredient of the act of
Four informations were filed on January 9, 1981, in the Court of First Instance of recruitment and placement of workers. Any of the acts mentioned in the basic rule in
Zambales and Olongapo City alleging that Serapio Abug, private respondent herein, Article 13(b) win constitute recruitment and placement even if only one prospective
"without first securing a license from the Ministry of Labor as a holder of authority to worker is involved. The proviso merely lays down a rule of evidence that where a fee
operate a fee-charging employment agency, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully is collected in consideration of a promise or offer of employment to two or more
and criminally operate a private fee charging employment agency by charging fees prospective workers, the individual or entity dealing with them shall be deemed to be
and expenses (from) and promising employment in Saudi Arabia" to four separate engaged in the act of recruitment and placement. The words "shall be deemed"
individuals named therein, in violation of Article 16 in relation to Article 39 of the Labor create that presumption.
1
Code.
This is not unlike the presumption in article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, for
Abug filed a motion to quash on the ground that the informations did not charge an example, regarding the failure of a public officer to produce upon lawful demand
offense because he was accused of illegally recruiting only one person in each of the funds or property entrusted to his custody. Such failure shall be prima facie evidence
four informations. Under the proviso in Article 13(b), he claimed, there would be illegal that he has put them to personal use; in other words, he shall be deemed to have
recruitment only "whenever two or more persons are in any manner promised or malversed such funds or property. In the instant case, the word "shall be deemed"
2
offered any employment for a fee. " should by the same token be given the force of a disputable presumption or of prima
facie evidence of engaging in recruitment and placement. (Klepp vs. Odin Tp.,
Denied at first, the motion was reconsidered and finally granted in the Orders of the McHenry County 40 ND N.W. 313, 314.)
trial court dated June 24 and September 17, 1981. The prosecution is now before us
3
on certiorari. It is unfortunate that we can only speculate on the meaning of the questioned
provision for lack of records of debates and deliberations that would otherwise have
The posture of the petitioner is that the private respondent is being prosecuted under been available if the Labor Code had been enacted as a statute rather than a
Article 39 in relation to Article 16 of the Labor Code; hence, Article 13(b) is not presidential decree. The trouble with presidential decrees is that they could be, and
applicable. However, as the first two cited articles penalize acts of recruitment and sometimes were, issued without previous public discussion or consultation, the
placement without proper authority, which is the charge embodied in the informations, promulgator heeding only his own counsel or those of his close advisers in their lofty
application of the definition of recruitment and placement in Article 13(b) is pinnacle of power. The not infrequent results are rejection, intentional or not, of the
unavoidable. interest of the greater number and, as in the instant case, certain esoteric provisions
that one cannot read against the background facts usually reported in the legislative
The view of the private respondents is that to constitute recruitment and placement, journals.
all the acts mentioned in this article should involve dealings with two or m re persons
as an indispensable requirement. On the other hand, the petitioner argues that the At any rate, the interpretation here adopted should give more force to the campaign
requirement of two or more persons is imposed only where the recruitment and against illegal recruitment and placement, which has victimized many Filipino workers
seeking a better life in a foreign land, and investing hard- earned savings or even DIGEST:
borrowed funds in pursuit of their dream, only to be awakened to the reality of a
cynical deception at the hands of theirown countrymen. FACTS:

WHEREFORE, the Orders of June 24, 1981, and September 17, 1981, are set aside On January 9, 1981, four information were filed in the in the Court of First Instance
and the four informations against the private respondent reinstated. No costs. (CFI) of Zambales and Olongapo City alleging that herein private respondent Serapio
Abug, "without first securing a license from the Ministry of Labor as a holder of
authority to operate a fee-charging employment agency, did then and there wilfully,
SO ORDERED. unlawfully and criminally operate a private fee charging employment agency by
charging fees and expenses (from) and promising employment in Saudi Arabia" to
four separate individuals. Abug filed a motion to quash contending that he cannot be
charged for illegal recruitment because according to him, Article 13(b) of the Labor
Code says there would be illegal recruitment only "whenever two or more persons are
in any manner promised or offered any employment for a fee.

Denied at first, the motion to quash was reconsidered and granted by the Trial Court
in its Orders dated June 24, 1981, and September 17, 1981. In the instant case, the
view of the private respondents is that to constitute recruitment and placement, all the
acts mentioned in this article should involve dealings with two or more persons as an
indispensable requirement. On the other hand, the petitioner argues that the
requirement of two or more persons is imposed only where the recruitment and
placement consists of an offer or promise of employment to such persons and always
in consideration of a fee.

ISSUE: Whether or not Article 13(b) of the Labor Code provides for the innocence or
guilt of the private respondent of the crime of illegal recruitment

COURT RULING: The Supreme Court reversed the CFIs Orders and reinstated all
four information filed against private respondent.

The Article 13(b) of the Labor Code was merely intended to create a presumption,
and not to impose a condition on the basic rule nor to provide an exception thereto.

Where a fee is collected in consideration of a promise or offer of employment to two


or more prospective workers, the individual or entity dealing with them shall be
deemed to be engaged in the act of recruitment and placement. The words "shall be
deemed" create the said presumption.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Also in April or May, 1987, Salado, accompanied by five other applicants who were
vs. his relatives, went to the office of the placement agency at Nakpil Street, Ermita,
LOMA GOCE y OLALIA, DAN GOCE and NELLY D. AGUSTIN, accused. NELLY Manila where he saw Agustin and met the spouses Dan and Loma Goce, owners of
D. AGUSTIN, accused-appellant. the agency. He submitted his bio-data and learned from Loma Goce that he had to
give P12,000.00, instead of the original amount of P5,000.00 for the placement fee.
REGALADO, J.: Although surprised at the new and higher sum, they subsequently agreed as long as
10
there was an assurance that they could leave for abroad.
On January 12, 1988, an information for illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate
and in large scale, punishable under Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code Thereafter, a receipt was issued in the name of the Clover Placement Agency
(Presidential Decree No. 442) as amended by Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree No. showing that Salado and his aforesaid co-applicants each paid P2,000.00, instead of
2018, was filed against spouses Dan and Loma Goce and herein accused-appellant the P5,000.00 which each of them actually paid. Several months passed but Salado
Nelly Agustin in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 5, alleging failed to leave for the promised overseas employment. Hence, in October, 1987,
along with the other recruits, he decided to go to the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA) to verify the real status of Clover Placement
That in or about and during the period comprised between May 1986 and Agency. They discovered that said agency was not duly licensed to recruit job
June 25, 1987, both dates inclusive, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the applicants. Later, upon learning that Agustin had been arrested, Salado decided to
said accused, conspiring and confederating together and helping one see her and to demand the return of the money he had paid, but Agustin could only
another, representing themselves to have the capacity to contract, enlist and give him P500.00.
11
transport Filipino workers for employment abroad, did then and there willfully
and unlawfully, for a fee, recruit and promise employment/job placement
abroad, to (1) Rolando Dalida y Piernas, (2) Ernesto Alvarez y Lubangco, (3) Ramona Salado, the wife of Rogelio Salado, came to know through her brother,
Rogelio Salado y Savillo, (4) Ramona Salado y Alvarez, (5) Dionisio Masaya Lorenzo Alvarez, about Nelly Agustin. Accompanied by her husband, Rogelio,
y de Guzman, (6) Dave Rivera y de Leon, (7) Lorenzo Alvarez y Velayo, and Ramona went to see Agustin at the latter's residence. Agustin persuaded her to apply
(8) Nelson Trinidad y Santos, without first having secured the required as a cutter/sewer in Oman so that she could join her husband. Encouraged by
license or authority from the Department of Labor.
1 Agustin's promise that she and her husband could live together while working in
Oman, she instructed her husband to give Agustin P2,000.00 for each of them as
12
placement fee, or the total sum of P4,000.00.
On January 21, 1987, a warrant of arrest was issued against the three accused but
2
not one of them was arrested. Hence, on February 2, 1989, the trial court ordered
the case archived but it issued a standing warrant of arrest against the accused.
3 Much later, the Salado couple received a telegram from the placement agency
requiring them to report to its office because the "NOC" (visa) had allegedly arrived.
Again, around February, or March, 1987, Rogelio gave P2,000.00 as payment for his
Thereafter, on learning of the whereabouts of the accused, one of the offended and his wife's passports. Despite follow-up of their papers twice a week from
parties, Rogelio Salado, requested on March 17, 1989 for a copy of the warrant of February to June, 1987, he and his wife failed to leave for abroad.
13
4
arrest. Eventually, at around midday of February 26, 1993, Nelly Agustin was
5
apprehended by the Paraaque police. On March 8, 1993, her counsel filed a motion
to revive the case and requested that it be set for hearing "for purposes of due Complainant Dionisio Masaya, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Aquiles Ortega,
6
process and for the accused to immediately have her day in court" Thus, on April applied for a job in Oman with the Clover Placement Agency at Paraaque, the
15, 1993, the trial court reinstated the case and set the arraignment for May 3, agency's former office address. There, Masaya met Nelly Agustin, who introduced
7 8
1993, on which date of Agustin pleaded not guilty and the case subsequently went herself as the manager of the agency, and the Goce spouses, Dan and Loma, as well
to trial. as the latter's daughter. He submitted several pertinent documents, such as his bio-
14
data and school credentials.
Four of the complainants testified for the prosecution. Rogelio Salado was the first to
take the witness stand and he declared that sometime in March or April, 1987, he was In May, 1986, Masaya gave Dan Goce P1,900.00 as an initial downpayment for the
introduced by Lorenzo Alvarez, his brother-in-law and a co-applicant, to Nelly Agustin placement fee, and in September of that same year, he gave an additional
in the latter's residence at Factor, Dongalo, Paraaque, Metro Manila. Representing P10,000.00. He was issued receipts for said amounts and was advised to go to the
herself as the manager of the Clover Placement Agency, Agustin showed him a job placement office once in a while to follow up his application, which he faithfully did.
order as proof that he could readily be deployed for overseas employment. Salado Much to his dismay and chagrin, he failed to leave for abroad as promised.
learned that he had to pay P5,000.00 as processing fee, which amount he gave Accordingly, he was forced to demand that his money be refunded but Loma Goce
15
sometime in April or May of the same year. He was issued the corresponding could give him back only P4,000.00 in installments.
9
receipt.
As the prosecution's fourth and last witness, Ernesto Alvarez took the witness stand
on June 7, 1993. He testified that in February, 1987, he met appellant Agustin
through his cousin, Larry Alvarez, at her residence in Paraaque. She informed him illegal and punishable under Article 39 thereof. The same article further provides that
that "madalas siyang nagpapalakad sa Oman" and offered him a job as an illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if any
ambulance driver at the Royal Hospital in Oman with a monthly salary of about of these qualifying circumstances exist, namely, (a) when illegal recruitment is
16
$600.00 to $700.00. committed by a syndicate, i.e., if it is carried out by a group of three or more persons
conspiring and/or confederating with one another; or (b) when illegal recruitment is
On March 10, 1987, Alvarez gave an initial amount of P3,000.00 as processing fee to committed in large scale, i.e., if it is committed against three or more persons
Agustin at the latter's residence. In the same month, he gave another P3,000.00, this individually or as a group.
time in the office of the placement agency. Agustin assured him that he could leave
for abroad before the end of 1987. He returned several times to the placement At the outset, it should be made clear that all the accused in this case were not
agency's office to follow up his application but to no avail. Frustrated, he demanded authorized to engage in any recruitment activity, as evidenced by a certification
the return of the money he had paid, but Agustin could only give back P500.00. issued by Cecilia E. Curso, Chief of the Licensing and Regulation Office of the
17
Thereafter, he looked for Agustin about eight times, but he could no longer find her. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, on November 10, 1987. Said
certification states that Dan and Loma Goce and Nelly Agustin are neither licensed
Only herein appellant Agustin testified for the defense. She asserted that Dan and nor authorized to recruit workers for overseas
23
Loma Goce were her neighbors at Tambo, Paraaque and that they were licensed employment. Appellant does not dispute this. As a matter of fact her counsel
recruiters and owners of the Clover Placement Agency. Previously, the Goce couple agreed to stipulate that she was neither licensed nor authorized to recruit applicants
was able to send her son, Reynaldo Agustin, to Saudi Arabia. Agustin met the for overseas employment. Appellant, however, denies that she was in any way guilty
24
aforementioned complainants through Lorenzo Alvarez who requested her to of illegal recruitment.
18
introduce them to the Goce couple, to which request she acceded.
It is appellant's defensive theory that all she did was to introduce complainants to the
Denying any participation in the illegal recruitment and maintaining that the Goce spouses. Being a neighbor of said couple, and owing to the fact that her son's
recruitment was perpetrated only by the Goce couple, Agustin denied any knowledge overseas job application was processed and facilitated by them, the complainants
of the receipts presented by the prosecution. She insisted that the complainants asked her to introduce them to said spouses. Allegedly out of the goodness of her
included her in the complaint thinking that this would compel her to reveal the heart, she complied with their request. Such an act, appellant argues, does not fall
whereabouts of the Goce spouses. She failed to do so because in truth, so she within the meaning of "referral" under the Labor Code to make her liable for illegal
claims, she does not know the present address of the couple. All she knew was that recruitment.
19
they had left their residence in 1987.
Under said Code, recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing,
Although she admitted having given P500.00 each to Rogelio Salado and Alvarez, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and
she explained that it was entirely for different reasons. Salado had supposedly asked includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally
for a loan, while Alvarez needed money because he was sick at that time.
20 or abroad, whether for profit or not; provided, that any person or entity which, in any
manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be
25
deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. On the other hand, referral is the
On November 19, 1993, the trial court rendered judgment finding herein appellant act of passing along or forwarding of an applicant for employment after an initial
guilty as a principal in the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale, and sentencing interview of a selected applicant for employment to a selected employer, placement
her to serve the penalty of life imprisonment, as well as to pay a fine of officer or bureau.
26
21
P100,000.00.
Hence, the inevitable query is whether or not appellant Agustin merely introduced
In her present appeal, appellant Agustin raises the following arguments: (1) her act of complainants to the Goce couple or her actions went beyond that. The testimonial
introducing complainants to the Goce couple does not fall within the meaning of illegal evidence hereon show that she indeed further committed acts constitutive of illegal
recruitment and placement under Article 13(b) in relation to Article 34 of the Labor recruitment. All four prosecution witnesses testified that it was Agustin whom they
Code; (2) there is no proof of conspiracy to commit illegal recruitment among initially approached regarding their plans of working overseas. It was from her that
appellant and the Goce spouses; and (3) there is no proof that appellant offered or they learned about the fees they had to pay, as well as the papers that they had to
22
promised overseas employment to the complainants. These three arguments being submit. It was after they had talked to her that they met the accused spouses who
interrelated, they will be discussed together. owned the placement agency.

Herein appellant is accused of violating Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code. Article As correctly held by the trial court, being an employee of the Goces, it was therefore
38 of the Labor Code, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 2018, provides that logical for appellant to introduce the applicants to said spouses, they being the
any recruitment activity, including the prohibited practices enumerated in Article 34 of owners of the agency. As such, appellant was actually making referrals to the agency
said Code, undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority shall be deemed of which she was a part. She was therefore engaging in recruitment activity.
27
Despite Agustin's pretensions that she was but a neighbor of the Goce couple, the receipts before the trial court as proof of the said payments, is not fatal to their case.
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses paint a different picture. Rogelio Salado and The complainants duly proved by their respective testimonies that said accused was
Dionisio Masaya testified that appellant represented herself as the manager of the involved in the entire recruitment process. Their testimonies in this regard, being clear
Clover Placement Agency. Ramona Salado was offered a job as a cutter/sewer by and positive, were declared sufficient to establish that factum probandum.
Agustin the first time they met, while Ernesto Alvarez remembered that when he first
met Agustin, the latter represented herself as "nagpapaalis papunta sa Indeed, the trial court was justified and correct in accepting the version of the
28
Oman." Indeed, Agustin played a pivotal role in the operations of the recruitment prosecution witnesses, their statements being positive and affirmative in nature. This
agency, working together with the Goce couple. is more worthy of credit than the mere uncorroborated and self-serving denials of
appellant. The lame defense consisting of such bare denials by appellant cannot
There is illegal recruitment when one gives the impression of having the ability to overcome the evidence presented by the prosecution proving her guilt beyond
29 37
send a worker abroad." It is undisputed that appellant gave complainants the reasonable doubt.
distinct impression that she had the power or ability to send people abroad for work
such that the latter were convinced to give her the money she demanded in order to The presence of documentary evidence notwithstanding, this case essentially
30
be so employed. involves the credibility of witnesses which is best left to the judgment of the trial court,
in the absence of abuse of discretion therein. The findings of fact of a trial court,
It cannot be denied that Agustin received from complainants various sums for arrived at only after a hearing and evaluation of what can usually be expected to be
purpose of their applications. Her act of collecting from each of the complainants conflicting testimonies of witnesses, certainly deserve respect by an appellate
38
payment for their respective passports, training fees, placement fees, medical tests court. Generally, the findings of fact of the trial court on the matter of credibility of
39
and other sundry expenses unquestionably constitutes an act of recruitment within witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal.
the meaning of the law. In fact, appellant demanded and received from complainants
amounts beyond the allowable limit of P5,000.00 under government regulations. It is In a last-ditch effort to exculpate herself from conviction, appellant argues that there is
true that the mere act of a cashier in receiving money far exceeding the amount no proof of conspiracy between her and the Goce couple as to make her liable for
allowed by law was not considered per se as "recruitment and placement" in illegal recruitment. We do not agree. The evidence presented by the prosecution
contemplation of law, but that was because the recipient had no other participation in clearly establish that appellant confabulated with the Goces in their plan to deceive
the transactions and did not conspire with her co-accused in defrauding the the complainants. Although said accused couple have not been tried and convicted,
31
victims. That is not the case here. nonetheless there is sufficient basis for appellant's conviction as discussed above.

Appellant further argues that "there is no evidence of receipts of collections/payments 40


In People vs. Sendon, we held that the non-prosecution of another suspect therein
from complainants to appellant." On the contrary, xerox copies of said provided no ground for the appellant concerned to fault the decision of the trial court
receipts/vouchers were presented by the prosecution. For instance, a cash voucher convicting her. The prosecution of other persons, equally or more culpable than
32
marked as Exhibit D, showing the receipt of P10,000.00 for placement fee and duly herein appellant, may come later after their true identities and addresses shall have
signed by appellant, was presented by the prosecution. Another receipt, identified as been ascertained and said malefactors duly taken into custody. We see no reason
33
Exhibit E, was issued and signed by appellant on February 5, 1987 to acknowledge why the same doctrinal rule and course of procedure should not apply in this case.
receipt of P4,000.00 from Rogelio and Ramona Salado for "processing of documents
for Oman." Still another receipt dated March 10, 1987 and presented in evidence as
Exhibit F, shows that appellant received from Ernesto Alvarez P2,000.00 for WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of the court a quo is hereby AFFIRMED in
"processing of documents for Oman."
34 toto, with costs against accused-appellant Nelly D. Agustin.

Apparently, the original copies of said receipts/vouchers were lost, hence only xerox SO ORDERED.
copies thereof were presented and which, under the circumstances, were admissible
in evidence. When the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be
produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or destruction, or
unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy or a recital of its contents in some
35
authentic document, or by the recollection of witnesses.

Even assuming arguendo that the xerox copies presented by the prosecution as
secondary evidence are not allowable in court, still the absence thereof does not
36
warrant the acquittal of appellant. In People vs. Comia, where this particular issue
was involved, the Court held that the complainants' failure to ask for receipts for the
fees they paid to the accused therein, as well as their consequent failure to present
Digest:

PEOPLE VS. GOCE G. R. NO. 113161, AUAGUST 29, 1995, REGALADO, J.

FACTS : on January 12, 1988, an information for illegal recruitment committed by a


syndicateand in large scale, punishable under Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code
(Presidential DecreeNo. 442) as amended by Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree No.
2018, was filed againstspouses Dan and Loma Goce and herein accused-appellant
Nelly Agustin, alleging that in orabout during the period comprised between May 1986
and June 25, 1987, both dates inclusivein the City of Manila, the accused conspired
and represent themselves to have the capacity torecruit Filipino workers for
employment abroad.According to one of the witnesses, Agustin, representing herself
as the manager of the CloverPlacement Agency, showed him a job order as proof
that he could readily be deployed foroverseas employment. Salado learned that he
had to pay P5,000.00 as processing fee, whichamount he gave sometime in April or
May of the same year. He was issued the correspondingreceipt. Also, Salado,
accompanied by five other applicants who were his relatives, went to theoce of the
placement agency at Nakpil Street, Ermita, Manila where he saw Agustin and metthe
spouses Dan and Loma Goce, owners of the agency. He submitted his bio-data and
learnedfrom Loma Goce that he had to give P12,000.00, instead of the original
amount of P5,000.00 forthe placement fee. Although surprised at the new and higher
sum, they subsequently agreed aslong as there was an assurance that they could
leave for abroad. Thereafter, a receipt wasissued in the name of the Clover
Placement Agency showing that Salado and his aforesaid co-applicants each paid
P2,000.00, instead of the P5,000.00 which each of them actually paid.Several months
passed but Salado failed to leave for the promised overseas employment.

ISSUE: WON there is proof that Agustin oered or promised overseas employment
to thecomplainants.

HELD: YES, the testimonial evidence hereon show that she indeed further committed
actsconstitutive of illegal recruitment.

RATIO: All four prosecution witnesses testified that it was Agustin whom they
initiallyapproached regarding their plans of working overseas. It was from her that
they learned aboutthe fees they had to pay, as well as the papers that they had to
submit. It was after they hadtalked to her that they met the accused spouses who
owned the placement agency.There is illegal recruitment when one gives the
impression of having the ability to send a workerabroad." 29 It is undisputed that
appellant gave complainants the distinct impression that shehad the power or ability
to send people abroad for work such that the latter were convinced togive her the
money she demanded in order to be so employed.
[G.R. No. 125044. July 13, 1998] Accused-appellant, on the other hand, testified that she used to be connected
with Dale Travel Agency and that in 1992, or thereabouts, she was assisting
individuals in securing passports, visa, and airline tickets. She came to know Toledo
through Florencio Jake Rivera, Jr. and Leonila Rivera, alleging that Toledo sought her
help to secure a passport, US visa and airline tickets to the States. She claims that
IMELDA DARVIN, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF
she did not promise any employment in the U.S. to Toledo. She, however, admits
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
receiving the amount of P150,000.00 from the latter on April 13, 1992 but contends
that it was used for necessary expenses of an intended trip to the United States of
[6]
Toledo and her friend, Florencio Rivera as follows: P45,000.00 for plane fare for one
person; P1,500.00 for passport, documentation and other incidental expenses for
DECISION each person; P20,000.00 for visa application cost for each person; and P17,000.00
[7]
for services. After receiving the money, she allegedly told Toledo that the papers will
ROMERO, J.: be released within 45 days. She likewise testified that she was able to secure Toledos
passport on April 20, 1992 and even set up a date for an interview with the US
Before us is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A.- embassy. Accused alleged that she was not engaged in illegal recruitment but merely
[1]
G.R. CR. No. 15624 dated January 31, 1996, which affirmed in toto the judgment of acted as a travel agent in assisting individuals to secure passports and visa.
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Bacoor, Cavite, convicting accused-appellant,
Imelda Darvin for simple illegal recruitment under Article 38 and Article 39, in relation In its judgment rendered on June 17, 1993, the Bacoor, Cavite RTC found
to Article 13 (b) and (c), of the Labor Code, as amended. accused-appellant guilty of the crime of simple illegal recruitment but acquitted her of
the crime of estafa. The dispositive portion of the judgment reads as follows:
Accused-appellant was charged under the following information:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Imelda Darvin is hereby found guilty
th
That on or about the 13 day of April 1992, in the Municipality of Bacoor, Province of beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Simple Illegal Recruitment for having
Cavite, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- committed the prohibited practice as defined by paragraph (b) of Article 34 and
named accused, through fraudulent representation to one Macaria Toledo to the punished by paragraph (c) of Article 39 of the Labor Code, as amended by PD 2018.
effect that she has the authority to recruit workers and employees for abroad and can
facilitate the necessary papers in connection thereof, did, then and there, wilfully, Accused Imelda Darvin is hereby ordered to suffer the prison term of Four (4) years,
unlawfully and feloniously, hire, recruit and promise a job abroad to one Macaria as minimum, to Eight (8) years, as maximum; and to pay the fine of P25,000.00.
Toledo, without first securing the necessary license and permit from the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration to do so, thereby causing damage and
prejudice to the aforesaid Macaria Toledo. Regarding her civil liability, she is hereby ordered to reimburse the private
complainant the sum of P150,000.00 and attorneys fees of P10,000.00.
[2]
Contrary to law.
She is hereby acquitted of the crime of Estafa.
The evidence for the prosecution, based on the testimony of private respondent, [8]
Macaria Toledo, shows that sometime in March, 1992, she met accused-appellant SO ORDERED.
Darvin in the latters residence at Dimasalang, Imus, Cavite, through the introduction
of their common friends, Florencio Jake Rivera and Leonila Rivera. In said meeting, On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto,
accused-appellant allegedly convinced Toledo that by giving her P150,000.00, the hence this petition.
latter can immediately leave for the United States without any appearance before the
[3]
U.S. embassy. Thus, on April 13, 1992, Toledo gave Darvin the amount of Before this Court, accused-appellant assails the decision of the trial and
P150,000.00, as evidenced by a receipt stating that the amount of P150,000.00 was appellate courts in convicting her of the crime of simple illegal recruitment. She
[4]
for U.S. Visa and Air fare. After receiving the money, Darvin assured Toledo that she contends that based on the evidence presented by the prosecution, her guilt was not
can leave within one week. However, when after a week, there was no word from proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Darvin, Toledo went to her residence to inquire about any development, but could not We find the appeal impressed with merit.
find Darvin. Thereafter, on May 7, 1992, Toledo filed a complaint with the Bacoor
Police Station against Imelda Darvin. Upon further investigation, a certification was Article 13 of the Labor Code, as amended, provides the definition of recruitment
issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) stating that and placement as:
Imelda Darvin is neither licensed nor authorized to recruit workers for overseas
[5]
employment. Accused-appellant was then charged for estafa and illegal recruitment
by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Cavite.
x x x; b) any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or Atty. Alejandro : What transpired after the accused told you all these things that
procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising you will be able to secure all the documents without appearing to anybody or
for employment. locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided , that any person to any embassy and that you will be able to work abroad?
or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or
more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. Witness : She told me to get ready with my P150,000.00, that is if I want to leave
immediately, Sir.
On the other hand, Article 38 of the Labor Code provides: Atty. Alejandro : When you mentioned kaagad, how many days or week?
Witness : She said that if I will able to part with my P150,000.00. I will be able to
a) Any recruitment activities, including the prohibited practices enumerated leave in just one week time, Sir.
under Article 34 of this Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-
[11]
holders of authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 x x x x x x x x x.
of this Code. The Ministry of Labor and Employment or any law enforcement
officer may initiate complaints under this Article. The prosecution, as evidence, presented the certification issued by the POEA
that accused-appellant Imelda Darvin is not licensed to recruit workers abroad.
x x x x x x x x x. It is not disputed that accused-appellant does not have a license or authority to
engage in recruitment activities. The pivotal issue to be determined, therefore, is
Applied to the present case, to uphold the conviction of accused-appellant, two
whether the accused-appellant indeed engaged in recruitment activities, as defined
elements need to be shown: (1) the person charged with the crime must have under the Labor Code.Applying the rule laid down in the case of People v. Goce, to
[12]
undertaken recruitment activities; and (2) the said person does not have a license or prove that accused-appellant was engaged in recruitment activities as to commit the
[9]
authority to do so. crime of illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accused appellant gave private
In this case, private respondent, Macaria Toledo alleged that she was offered a respondent the distinct impression that she had the power or ability to send the
[10]
job in the United States as nursing aide by accused-appellant. In her direct private respondent abroad for work such that the latter was convinced to part with her
examination, she testified as follows: money in order to be so employed.

Atty Alejandro: In this case, we find no sufficient evidence to prove that accused-appellant
offered a job to private respondent. It is not clear that accused gave the impression
Q : How did you come to know the accused? that she was capable of providing the private respondent work abroad. What is
established, however, is that the private respondent gave accused-
Witness : I was introduced by my two friends. One of whom is my best friend. That appellant P150,000.00. The claim of the accused that the P150,000.00 was for
according to them, this accused has connections and authorizations, that payment of private respondents air fare and US visa and other expenses cannot be
she can make people leave for abroad, sir. ignored because the receipt for the P150,000.00, which was presented by both
Court : What connections? parties during the trial of the case, stated that it was for Air Fare and Visa to
[13]
USA. Had the amount been for something else in addition to air fare and visa
Witness : That she has connections with the Embassy and with people whom she expenses, such as work placement abroad, the receipt should have so stated.
can approach regarding work abroad, your Honor.
By themselves, procuring a passport, airline tickets and foreign visa for another
xxxxxxxxx individual, without more, can hardly qualify as recruitment activities. Aside from the
testimony of private respondent, there is nothing to show that accused-appellant
Q : When you came to meet for the first time in Imus, Cavite, what transpired in engaged in recruitment activities. We also note that the prosecution did not present
that meeting of yours? the testimonies of witnesses who could have corroborated the charge of illegal
recruitment, such as Florencio Rivera, and Leonila Rivera, when it had the
A : When I came to her house, the accused convinced me that by means of
opportunity to do so. As it stands, the claim of private respondent that accused-
P150,000.00, I will be able to leave immediately without any appearance to
appellant promised her employment abroad is uncorroborated. All these, taken
any embassy, non-appearance, Sir.
collectively, cast reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused.
Q : When you mentioned non-appearance, as told to you by the accused,
This Court can hardly rely on the bare allegations of private respondent that she
precisely, what do you mean by that?
was offered by accused-appellant employment abroad, nor on mere presumptions
A : I was told by the accused that non-appearance, means without working and conjectures, to convict the latter. No sufficient evidence was shown to sustain the
personally for my papers and through her efforts considering that she is conviction, as the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to establish that accused-
capacitated as according to her I will be able to leave the country, Sir. appellant indeed engaged in recruitment activities, thus committing the crime of illegal
recruitment.
xxxxxxxxx
In criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecution to prove, beyond reasonable Digest:
doubt, the essential elements of the offense with which the accused is charged; and if
the proof fails to establish any of the essential elements necessary to constitute a FACTS:
crime, the defendant is entitled to an acquittal. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does Maria Toledo convinced by the petitioner that she has the authority to recruit workers
not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding the possibility of error, produces for abroad and that she can facilitate the necessary papers, gave Darvin Php150,000
absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is required, or that degree of proof which for airfare and US visa. However, she was not given a work permit to validly work in
[14]
produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. the US.
At best, the evidence proffered by the prosecution only goes so far as to create Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of illegal recruitment?
a suspicion that accused-appellant probably perpetrated the crime charged. But
suspicion alone is insufficient, the required quantum of evidence being proof beyond Held: There is lack of evidence that accused offered Toledo a job. Procuring of an
reasonable doubt. When the Peoples evidence fail to indubitably prove the accuseds airfare ticket and a US visa does not qualify illegal recruitment.
authorship of the crime of which he stands accused, then it is the Courts duty, and the
[15]
accuseds right, to proclaim his innocence. Acquittal, therefore, is in order.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED and the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 15624 dated January 31, 1996, is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Accused-appellant Imelda Darvin is hereby ACQUITTED on ground of
reasonable doubt.Accordingly, let the accused be immediately released from her
place of confinement unless there is reason to detain her further for any other legal or
valid cause. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Purisima, JJ., concur.
Digest: complainants salary for three (3) months of the unexpired portion of the aforesaid
contract of employment.
SERRANO V. GALLANT MARITIME SERVICES,INC.
The claims of the complainant for moral and exemplary damages are hereby
By way of Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner assails DISMISSED for lack of merit.
the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA).
In awarding petitioner a lump-sum salary of US$8,770.00, the LA based his
FACTS: computation on the salary period of three months only rather than the entire
unexpired portion of nine months and 23 days of petitioners employment contract
Petitioner was hired by Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and Marlow Navigation Co., applying the subject clause. However, the LA applied the salary rate of US$2,590.00,
Ltd. (respondents) under a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)- consisting of petitioners [b]asic salary, US$1,400.00/month + US$700.00/month,
approved Contract of Employment with the following terms and conditions: fixed overtime pay, + US$490.00/month, vacation leave pay =
US$2,590.00/compensation per month.
Duration of contract 12 months
Respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to
Position Chief Officer question the finding of the LA that petitioner was illegally dismissed.

Basic monthly salary US$1,400.00 The NLRC modified the LA Decision and corrected the LAs computation of the lump-
sum salary awarded to petitioner by reducing the applicable salary rate from
Hours of work 48.0 hours per week US$2,590.00 to US$1,400.00 because R.A. No. 8042 does not provide for the award
of overtime pay, which should be proven to have been actually performed, and for
Overtime US$700.00 per month vacation leave pay.

Vacation leave with pay 7.00 days per month Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, but this time he questioned the
constitutionality of the subject clause. The NLRC denied the motion.
On March 19, 1998, the date of his departure, petitioner was constrained to accept a
downgraded employment contract for the position of Second Officer with a monthly Petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA, reiterating the constitutional
salary of US$1,000.00, upon the assurance and representation of respondents that challenge against the subject clause. After initially dismissing the petition on a
he would be made Chief Officer by the end of April 1998. technicality, the CA eventually gave due course to it, as directed by this Court in its
Resolution which granted the petition for certiorari,filed by petitioner.
Respondents did not deliver on their promise to make petitioner Chief Officer. Hence,
petitioner refused to stay on as Second Officer and was repatriated to the Philippines The CA affirmed the NLRC ruling on the reduction of the applicable salary rate;
on May 26, 1998. however, the CA skirted the constitutional issue raised by petitioner.

Petitioners employment contract was for a period of 12 months or from March 19, His Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by the CA, petitioner brings his
1998 up to March 19, 1999, but at the time of his repatriation on May 26, 1998, he cause to this Court on the following grounds:
had served only two (2) months and seven (7) days of his contract, leaving an
unexpired portion of nine (9) months and twenty-three (23) days. The Court of Appeals and the labor tribunals have decided the case in a way not in
accord with applicable decision of the Supreme Court involving similar issue of
Petitioner filed with the Labor Arbiter (LA) a Complaint against respondents for granting unto the migrant worker back wages equal to the unexpired portion of his
constructive dismissal and for payment of his money claims in the total amount of contract of employment instead of limiting it to three (3) months.
US$26,442.73.
Even without considering the constitutional limitations [of] Sec. 10 of Republic Act No.
The LA rendered a Decision dated July 15, 1999, declaring the dismissal of petitioner 8042, the Court of Appeals gravely erred in law in excluding from petitioners award
illegal and awarding him monetary benefits, to wit: the overtime pay and vacation pay provided in his contract since under the contract
they form part of his salary.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring that the
dismissal of the complainant (petitioner) by the respondents in the above-entitled The Court now takes up the full merit of the petition mindful of the extreme
case was illegal and the respondents are hereby ordered to pay the complainant importance of the constitutional question raised therein.
[petitioner], jointly and severally, in Philippine Currency, based on the rate of
exchange prevailing at the time of payment, the amount of EIGHT THOUSAND
SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY U.S. DOLLARS (US $8,770.00), representing the
ISSUES:
Section 1, Article III of the Constitution guarantees:
Whether Section 10 (par 5) of RA 8042 is unconstitutional
Proper computation of the Lump-sum salary to be awarded to petitioner by reason of No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor
his illegal dismissal shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law.
Whether the overtime and leave pay should form part of the salary basis in the
computation of his monetary award Section 18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII accord all members of the labor sector,
without distinction as to place of deployment, full protection of their rights and welfare.
The unanimous finding of the LA, NLRC and CA that the dismissal of petitioner was
illegal is not disputed. Likewise not disputed is the salary differential of US$45.00 To Filipino workers, the rights guaranteed under the foregoing constitutional
awarded to petitioner in all three fora. provisions translate to economic security and parity: all monetary benefits should be
equally enjoyed by workers of similar category, while all monetary obligations should
Applying the subject clause, the NLRC and the CA computed the lump-sum salary of be borne by them in equal degree; none should be denied the protection of the laws
petitioner at the monthly rate of US$1,400.00 covering the period of three months out which is enjoyed by, or spared the burden imposed on, others in like circumstances.
of the unexpired portion of nine months and 23 days of his employment contract or a
total of US$4,200.00. Imbued with the same sense of obligation to afford protection to labor, the Court in
the present case also employs the standard of strict judicial scrutiny, for it perceives
Impugning the constitutionality of the subject clause, petitioner contends that, in in the subject clause a suspect classification prejudicial to OFWs.
addition to the US$4,200.00 awarded by the NLRC and the CA, he is entitled to
US$21,182.23 more or a total of US$25,382.23, equivalent to his salaries for the Upon cursory reading, the subject clause appears facially neutral, for it applies to all
entire nine months and 23 days left of his employment contract, computed at the OFWs. However, a closer examination reveals that the subject clause has a
monthly rate of US$2,590.00.31 discriminatory intent against, and an invidious impact on OFWs

Arguments of the Petitioner The subject clause does not state or imply any definitive governmental purpose; and
it is for that precise reason that the clause violates not just petitioners right to equal
For Antonio Serrano (petitioner), a Filipino seafarer, the last clause in the 5th protection, but also her right to substantive due process under Section 1, Article III of
paragraph of Section 10, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8042, violates the OFWs the Constitution.
constitutional rights in that it impairs the terms of their contract, deprives them of
equal protection and denies them due process. Second Issue

The Arguments of Respondents It is plain that prior to R.A. No. 8042, all OFWs, regardless of contract periods or the
unexpired portions thereof, were treated alike in terms of the computation of their
Respondents contend that the constitutional issue should not be entertained, for this monetary benefits in case of illegal dismissal. Their claims were subjected to a
was belatedly interposed by petitioner in his appeal before the CA, and not at the uniform rule of computation: their basic salaries multiplied by the entire unexpired
earliest opportunity, which was when he filed an appeal before the NLRC.40 portion of their employment contracts.

The Arguments of the Solicitor General The enactment of the subject clause in R.A. No. 8042 introduced a differentiated rule
of computation of the money claims of illegally dismissed OFWs based on their
The Solicitor General (OSG)41 points out that as R.A. No. 8042 took effect on July employment periods, in the process singling out one category whose contracts have
15, 1995, its provisions could not have impaired petitioners 1998 employment an unexpired portion of one year or more and subjecting them to the peculiar
contract. Rather, R.A. No. 8042 having preceded petitioners contract, the provisions disadvantage of having their monetary awards limited to their salaries for 3 months or
thereof are deemed part of the minimum terms of petitioners employment, especially for the unexpired portion thereof, whichever is less, but all the while sparing the other
on the matter of money claims, as this was not stipulated upon by the parties. category from such prejudice, simply because the latters unexpired contracts fall
short of one year.
The Courts Ruling:
Prior to R.A. No. 8042, a uniform system of computation of the monetary awards of
First Issue illegally dismissed OFWs was in place. This uniform system was applicable even to
local workers with fixed-term employment.
Does the subject clause violate Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, and Section
18, Article II and Section 3, Article XIII on Labor as protected sector? The subject clause does not state or imply any definitive governmental purpose; and
it is for that precise reason that the clause violates not just petitioners right to equal
The answer is in the affirmative.
protection, but also her right to substantive due process under Section 1, Article III of
the Constitution.

The subject clause being unconstitutional, petitioner is entitled to his salaries for the
entire unexpired period of nine months and 23 days of his employment contract,
pursuant to law and jurisprudence prior to the enactment of R.A. No. 8042.

Third Issue

Petitioner contends that his overtime and leave pay should form part of the salary
basis in the computation of his monetary award, because these are fixed benefits that
have been stipulated into his contract.

Petitioner is mistaken.

The word salaries in Section 10(5) does not include overtime and leave pay. For
seafarers like petitioner, DOLE Department Order No. 33, series 1996, provides a
Standard Employment Contract of Seafarers, in which salary is understood as the
basic wage, exclusive of overtime, leave pay and other bonuses; whereas overtime
pay is compensation for all work performed in excess of the regular eight hours, and
holiday pay is compensation for any work performed on designated rest days and
holidays.

In the same vein, the claim for the days leave pay for the unexpired portion of the
contract is unwarranted since the same is given during the actual service of the
seamen.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the Petition. The subject clause or for three
months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less in the 5th paragraph
of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 is DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL; and
the December 8, 2004 Decision and April 1, 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals
are MODIFIED to the effect that petitioner is AWARDED his salaries for the entire
unexpired portion of his employment contract consisting of nine months and 23 days
computed at the rate of US$1,400.00 per month
SECOND DIVISION in Davao City and introduced them to him. The complainants asked Engr. Diaz why
[G.R. No. 112175. July 26, 1996] he was "inside the cell," and he explained that four applicants had filed a case against
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ENGINEER him "because they could not accept that they were sick of hepatitis and that the CIS
RODOLFO DIAZ, accused-appellant. elements are just making money out of it" (tsn, 9-8-92, p. 35). They asked him if he
DECISION was "recruiting applicants for Brunei" and "he said yes"; they also inquired what were
TORRES, JR., J.: the requirements, and he said four passport size pictures of each applicant, bio-data,
Rodolfo 'Erwin' Diaz seeks the mandate of this Court to review the decision dated income tax return, medical certificate, NBI clearance, passport, P2,500.00 for
September 2, 1993, of the Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 10, processing of the papers of each applicant, and P65,000.00 as placement fee, but
[1]
Davao City, in Criminal Case No. 26, 993-92 convicting him of the crime of Illegal only P20,000.00 for plane fare was to be paid by each applicant, the balance of
Recruitment in Large Scale, and sentencing him to suffer life imprisonment and to pay P45,000.00 was to be paid by means of salary deductions (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 12; tsn, 9-
a fine of P100,000.00 plus the costs. 8-92, p. 35 & p. 59). The P2,500.00 for processing of their respective applications
In an Information dated August 15, 1992, Assistant City Prosecutor David W. was to be paid at the house of Engr. Diaz at 14 Aries Street, GSIS Heights, Davao
Natividad of Davao City charged appellant of violating Articles 38 (a) and 38 (b) in City, with telephone no. 8-46-71 (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 12).
relation to Article 39 of the Labor Code, as amended, as follows: Mary Anne Navarro paid P2,300.00 to Engr. Diaz at his residence on July 22, 1992
"That sometime in the month of July 1992, in the City of Davao, and within the (Exh. "C"). There is no explanation by her why she paid only P2,300.00 and not
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovementioned accused, purporting himself P2.500.00.
to have the capacity to contract, enlist and transport Filipino workers for employment Maria Theresa Fabricante paid only P2,000.00 to Engr. Diaz also on July 22, 1992
abroad, particularly Brunei and Japan, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully recruit (Exh. "E"). She paid only that amount because, according to her testimony, she
and promise employment/job placement abroad to Mary Anne Navarro, Maria already had a passport and Engr. Diaz said she was required to pay only P2,000.00,
Theresa Fabricante and Maria Elena Ramirez, without first securing the required (tsn, 9-8-92, p. 35).
license and/or authority from the Department of Labor and Employment. Maria Elena Ramirez paid to Engr. Diaz P2,500.00 but she lost her receipt (tsn, 9-8-
[2]
CONTRARY TO LAW." 92, p. 59). However, it was returned to her by Engr. Diaz on August 17, 1992 (Exh.
The antecedent facts found by the Court a quo reads: "G").
"Mary Anne Navarro was 22 years old, single and a student of the University of the Exhibit "G" is a RECEIPT signed by the three complainants acknowledging the return
Immaculate Concepcion in 1992, taking up Bachelor of Science in Music, Davao City. to them respectively of the amounts of P2,300.00, P2,000.00 and P2,500.00 by the
Maria Theresa Fabricante was 23 years old, single and jobless in 1992. She is accused and his wife who also signed it as witnesses (tsn, 9-8-92, p. 43).
accordingly a commerce graduate of the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City. After submitting to the accused all the required papers and undergoing medical
Maria Elena Ramirez was 27 years old, married and a businesswoman in 1992. She examination (before the return of said amounts to the complainants), they asked him
is accordingly a college graduate of the University of Mindanao in Davao City where when they could leave. The accused told them to wait for three to four weeks as his
she finished the course of Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in management. papers were still being processed by the CIS (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 15). During this period
From the combined testimonies of these three complainants, the Court has gathered when the accused had already been released from detention (testimony of the
that this is what happened, which gave rise to this case: accused, tsn, 4-27-93, pp. 16-17), the complainants kept inquiring from him when
In June 1992 they were all enrolled at the Henichi Techno Exchange Cultural they would be leaving for Brunei, going to his house several times where they saw
Foundation in Davao City, studying Niponggo. Their teacher was Mrs. Remedios many other applicants like them. But the accused just kept saying that his papers
Aplicador. were still with the CIS (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 15).
One day Mrs. Aplicador told them that if they wanted to go and work abroad, When he was still detained, he told the complainants that "the name of his agency is
particularly Brunei where they could earn a salary of "$700.00 for four hours daily confidential but the owner thereof is Erlinda Romualdez" who "used to be her (sic)
work," she would refer them to Mr. Paulo Lim who knew one Engr. Erwin Diaz who mistress" assuring them that "we don't have to worry about it because he said it is
was recruiting applicants for Brunei (tsn 9-7-92 pp. 10-11 & tsn 9-8-92 p. 34). government project and then he said he will escort us to Philippine Plaza Hotel for
Accompanied by Mrs. Aplicador, the three complainants went to Mr. Paulo Lim who briefing before leaving for abroad and after the briefing at the Philippine Plaza Hotel
explained to them that he was not the one recruiting workers but Engr. Diaz (tsn 9-8- we will proceed to POEA where we will sign a contract that is the time we will give
92 p. 34). Mr. Lim informed them that his children had already applied with Engr. Diaz him the amount of P20,000.00 and then we will proceed to the residence of Erlinda
and that the requirements were bio-data, passport, medical checkup, I.D. and income Romualdez where we will be staying for three days" (tsn, 9-8-92, pp. 40-41).
tax return, and P2,500.00 for processing of their papers (tsn 9-7-92 pp. 11 & 23-24 & Mary Anne Navarro asked her father for P20,000.00 for her plane fare, and so they
9-8-92 pp. 46 & 58). Telling them that he knew "pretty well the recruiter" Engr. Diaz mortgaged their piano for P30,000.00 to Serve Loan Mart as evidenced by a
and that "We don't have to worry we can really go abroad and as a matter of fact he promissory note for P30,000.00 (Exh. "D" & tsn, 9-7-92, p. 16).
said that his three children were applying (to go) to Brunei," he offered to accompany From the borrowed P30,000.00, Mary Anne Navarro set aside P20,000.00 "for
them to Engr. Erwin Diaz at the office of the CIS (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 11). They asked Mr. placement fee and the remaining P10,000.00 I used in buying traveling bag, dresses,
Lim when he was available, and he said July 18 (1992), Saturday morning (tsn, 9-8- shoes and of course make up (sic) because we were told that we will be working
92, p. 34). there as salesgirls. Then hairband, pair of earrings and ring" (tsn, 9-7-92, pp. 16-17).
On July 18, Mr. Paulo Lim and Mrs. Remedios Aplicador accompanied the three It was the accused who told them that they would be working in one of the
complainants to Engr. Diaz who was then being detained in the CIS Detention Center department stores in Brunei and receiving a monthly pay of $700.00 for working only
four hours a day (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 17). Earlier, she said Engr. Diaz told her and her co- (Sgd) GAUDENCIO DELA PEA
complainants herein that the P20,000.00 was for plane fare (tsn, 9-7-92, p. 12). Unit Coordinator"
Maria Theresa Fabricante went home to Cotabato to secure the required P20,000.00. The three complainants withdrew their applications from Engr. Diaz without paying his
Her father sold a horse for P5,000.00. As for the balance of P15,000.00 "Our plan charges. The amounts they paid for processing fees were all returned to them by
[3]
was to mortgage our five hectare land to a friend of my father." Engr. Diaz (Exh. "G").
"Q Was the land actually mortgage? On September 2, 1993 the trial court rendered a decision finding the appellant guilty
"A The money was ready for release. of the crime charged, the dispositive portion of which states:
"Q Now, was the money release? "WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Rodolfo 'Erwin' Diaz guilty beyond
"A No, sir. reasonable doubt of the offense of large scale illegal recruitment and sentences him
"Q Why? to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P100,000.00, plus the costs."
"A The money was supposed to be released on August 6, but before that date August Accused appellant Diaz predicated the instant appeal on the following assignment of
3, I came back to Davao and went to the office of POEA and verify whether Engr. errors:
Diaz was indeed a licensed recruiter. I
"Q What did you find out when you go there? THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED NOT ONLY
"A He is not registered or in the list. His name does not appear on the list. CONFINED HIMSELF TO FACILITATING THE PASSPORT AND MEDICAL
"Q With whom did you talk to with the POEA? EXAMINATION OF THE COMPLAINANTS BUT ALSO PROMISED THEM
"A Atty. Evangelio. EMPLOYMENT ABROAD.
"Q Now, upon learning that Mr. Diaz is not included in the masters list, what did you II
do? THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED WAS
"A After knowing that I went to my two companions Ma. Elena Ramirez and Mary MERELY A FACILITATOR OF TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND NOT AN ILLEGAL
Anne Navarro and informed them of what I found out that the agency represented by RECRUITER.
Engr. Diaz was a fake agency and I advised them they too should follow it up by III
themselves. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF THE CRIME
[4]
"Q Now, of your own knowledge, did they do? CHARGED.
"A Yes, sir. The foregoing assigned errors, being intertwined, shall be discussed together.
"Q What about you? The crime of illegal recruitment, as defined under Articles 38 (a) in relation to Articles
""A Yes, sir, we set a date to go to the POEA but before that we agreed that we will 13 (b) and 34 and penalized under Article 39 of the Labor Code, as amended by
go and see Engr. Diaz to get back the money that we paid as well as the papers. Presidential Decree 1920 and Presidential Decree 2018, is any recruitment activity,
"Q Did you actually go to Engr. Diaz? including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34, undertaken by a non-
"A Yes, sir. licensee or non-holder of authority.
[5]
"Q What happened? Thus, in People v. Cabacang this Court ruled that the crime of illegal recruitment is
"A We went to see Eng. Diaz and when we met him, he greet us by saying: "If you are committed when two elements concur, namely:
ready to leave?" But we told him that we are not going to leave and we are 1] That the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable one to
withdrawing our applications because we found from the office of the POEA that he is lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; and,
a fake recruiter and so he got angry and said that if our purpose in going there was to 2] That the offender undertakes either any activity within the meaning of recruitment
withdraw, he said we can and we can get back our documents the next day but he and placement defined under Article 13(b), or any prohibited practices enumerated
said we will have to pay him charges. And we said, what for? He said for labor under Article 34.
because he already secured a plane ticket for us and when I asked where the plane Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code, provides for the statutory definition of "recruitment
tickets are? He said it is in Cagayan" (tsn, 9-8-92, pp. 38-39). and placement, as follows:
At the POEA the three complainants learned that the "agency represented by Engr. "Recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting,
Diaz was a fake agency" (tsn, 9-8-92, p. 38). The Philippine Overseas Employment transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract
Administration issued a CERTIFICATION (Exh. "A") which reads: services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit
"This is to certify that Eng'r. Diaz a.k.a. Erwin, Rudy, Edwin, Rodolfo, Ariel Mateo of or not; Provided that any person or entity which in any manner offers or promises for
Aries St., GSIS Subd., Matina, Davao City; Mr. Paulo Lim and Remedios Aplicador a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment
both of Sto. Rosario St., Buhangin, Davao City were never granted an authority to and placement."
[6]
conduct recruitment for overseas employment in Davao City or in any part of Region In People v. Panis, we made the pronouncement that any of the acts mentioned in
XI, and that the agency of the former known as Phil Jap Constr'n and Tanaka and Article 13(b) will constitute recruitment and placement even if only one prospective
Diaz Asso. were never been a licensed agency for overseas recruitment. worker is involved. The number of persons dealt with is not an essential ingredient of
"This certification is being issued upon the written request of Ma. Elena Ramirez, the act of recruitment and placement.
Mary Anne Navarro and Ma. Theresa Fabricante for whatever legal purpose it may Article 38(a) clearly shows that illegal recruitment is an offense which is essentially
serve them best. committed by a non-licensee or non-holder of authority.
"14 August 1992 Davao City, Philippines. A non-licensee or non-holder of authority means any person, corporation or entity
[12]
which has not been issued a valid license or authority to engage in recruitment and through salary deductions.
placement by the Secretary of Labor, or whose license or authority has been Maria Theresa Fabricante testified in the following manner:
[7]
suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA or the Secretary. She declared:
Moreover, recruitment and placement activities of agents or representatives whose Q: What else did you ask Mr. Diaz?
appointments by a licensee or holder of authority were not previously authorized by A: We asked him if he is indeed recruiting applicants for Brunei. And he said, Yes.
[8]
the POEA shall likewise constitute illegal recruitment. After that we asked him what are the requirements and he told us that we need
We ruled in People vs. Goce, in this wise: passport, four passport size ID pictures, income tax return and NBI clearance, and if
"Article 38 (b) of the Labor Code, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 2018, we have diplomas to attach with other documents.
provides that any recruitment activity, including the prohibited practices enumerated Q: What else did Mr. Diaz tell you to do?
in Article 34 of said Code, undertaken by non -licensees or non-holders of authority A: He said that if we are interested, he will take care of the processing of the
shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 thereof. The same article documents by giving him the amount of P2,500, and that he explained that our
further provides that illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving placement fee will be in the sum of P65,000 and we will just have to raise P20,000 for
[13]
economic sabotage if any of the qualifying circumstances exist, namely, the processing of our visa, plane tickets and POEA expenses.
a] when illegal recruitment is committed by a syndicate, that is, if carried out by a She continued:
group of three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another; or, Q: What about your work in Brunei, what did you ask him?
b] when illegal recruitment is committed in large scale, that is, if committed against A: I asked Engr. Diaz whether our work would be contract worker and he said yes and
[9]
three or more persons individually or as a group. we did not have to worry about it because he said it was a government project and
Considering the clear import of the foregoing doctrine which spells the unmistakable then he said he would escort us to Philippine Plaza Hotel for briefing before leaving
intent of the specific provision applicable at bar, the instant case without doubt for abroad and after the briefing we will proceed to the POEA where we would sign
involves illegal recruitment in large scale. our contract and after signing that is the time we would give the amount of P20,000
The elements of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale, which are undoubtedly and then we would proceed to the residence of Erlinda Romualdez where we would
[14]
present in this case are: be staying for three days.
1] the offender is a non-licensee or non-holder of authority to engage in recruitment The same thing was testified to by Mary Anne Navarro. Appellant told her that he was
and placement activity, recruiting contract workers for abroad, particularly Brunei, and promised her a job
2] the offender undertakes recruitment and placement activity defined under Article opportunity if she can produce various amounts of money for expenses and
[15]
13(b), or any prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34, and processing of documents.
3] illegal recruitment is committed against three or more persons individually or as a Testifying in his behalf, appellant denied these complainants' allegations. He asserted
[10]
group. that he never made a promise in favor of complainants for employment abroad but
As can be ascertained after a thorough reading of the records, appellant Diaz was assisted them in the procurement of passports and medical certificates.
neither a licensee nor a holder of authority to qualify him to lawfully engage in This Court is not, however, persuaded by appellant's bare denials.
recruitment and placement activity. Evidently, greater weight must generally be given to the positive testimonies of the
[11]
Pursuant to the Certification issued by the POEA dated 14th of August 1992, duly prosecution witnesses than to the denial of the defendant in weighing contradictory
[16]
signed by Gaudencio de la Pena, Unit Coordinator, appellant was never granted an declarations and statements. We stated this rule with curt emphasis in Goce
authority to conduct recruitment for overseas employment. (supra) that
As to the third element of the crime, there were obviously three persons who were "The lame defense consisting of such bare denials by appellant cannot overcome the
[17]
victims of the appellant's nefarious act of large scale illegal recruitment. evidence presented by the prosecution proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
Relative to the question of whether or not appellant Diaz was engaged in recruitment The acts of the appellant, which were clearly described in the lucid testimonies of the
activity, it is clear from the testimonies of the three complainants that appellant three victims, such as collecting from each of the complainants payment for passport,
undertook to recruit them, thus: medical tests, placement fee, plane tickets and other sundry expenses, promising
Maria Elena Ramirez testified in the following tenor: them employment abroad, contracting and advertising for employment,
Q: When you went to see Mr. Diaz, what happened? unquestionably constitute acts of large scale illegal recruitment.
A: We were introduced by Mr. Lim to Diaz; and then we asked Diaz if it is true that Appellant sought refuge in the testimonies of his three witnesses that would give
he's recruiting applicants for abroad. He said that he is recruiting applicants for Japan credence to the claim that he was only a facilitator of travel documents and not a
or Brunei and if we have P20,000 we can go to Brunei and we will be given priority if recruiter.
we have the amount. The trial court did not give weight to appellant's allegations.
Q: What else did you ask Mr. Diaz? As observed by the trial court, the testimony of Edgar Macomao, is incredible which
[18]
A: We asked him what were the requirements. would raise serious doubts about his motive as a witness. It also describes the
[19]
Q: And what did he answer? testimony of Paulo Lim as unclear and confusing. Neither was the testimony of
A: Well, he told us that we are required to submit 8 copies of passport, ID photos, Abednigo Neri given much credit by the trial court.
income tax return, passport, medical certificate and the amount of P2,500 and he Admittedly, the findings of the trial court as to the credibility of witnesses are to be
further said that our placement fee will be P65,000 but all we have to pay in advance given great weight and a high degree of respect by the Appellate Court.
is the amount of P20,000 and the remaining balance of P45,000 shall be given In People vs. Reyes (242 SCRA 264), we enunciated the rule that
"When the issue is the credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will in general not and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, their Families and Overseas
disturb the findings of the trial court unless certain facts or circumstances of weight Filipinos in Distress and for Other Purposes. This new law, amends the pertinent
have been overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied which, if considered, might affect provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and gives a new definition of the crime
the result of the case. This is because the trial court heard the testimony of the of illegal recruitment and provides for its higher penalty.
[20]
witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during trial." We are not in anyway applying the otherwise restrictive provisions of this new law as
In the case at bar, we see no reason to disturb these observations of the trial court. A it is not applicable in the case at bar, considering the rule that crimes are punishable
careful scrutiny of the records reveals that no facts or circumstances had been by the laws in force at the time of their commission.
overlooked or misapplied by the trial court which might affect the result of the case In synthesis, considering the positive testimonies of the complainants against the
when considered. negative bare denials of accused-appellant, no other conclusion could be arrived at
As aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General, to wit: but to sustain the conviction of accused-appellant finding the latter guilty of large
"With the evidence on record, it is hard to believe that services promised by the scale illegal recruitment beyond reasonable doubt.
appellant to the three complainants were to consist only of his assistance in the IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the Decision appealed from
procurement of passports and medical certificates for each of them for they dated September 2, 1993 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects, with costs against
themselves could have easily secured these documents at a lesser cost. Moreover, accused-appellant Rodolfo Diaz.
the fact that the appellant still collected P2,000 from Theresa Fabricante who already SO ORDERED.
had a passport belies his claim that his services were limited only to procuring a
[21]
passport and medical certificate." Digest: People vs Diaz
The accused's assertion that he only assisted in the processing of passport and
medical certificate is nothing more than a frivolous excuse to divert the truth. PEOPLE VS DIAZ
Likewise, it is the settled rule that a person is guilty of illegal recruitment when he GR No. 112175
[22]
gives the impression that he has the power to send workers abroad. Appellant Diaz 26 July 1996
manifestly gave that impression to the three complainants that he had the ability to
send workers abroad. Misrepresenting himself as a recruiter of workers for Brunei, he
promised them work for a fee and convinced them to give their money for the purpose FACTS: Three women (Navarro, Fabricante, and Ramirez) were enrolled at the
of getting an employment overseas. Henichi Techno Exchange Cultural Foundation in Davao City, studying Niponggo,
The findings of the trial court, to which we agree, were arrived at with meticulous when they were informed by their teacher, Mrs. Aplicador, that she knew of a Mr.
care, to wit: Paulo Lim who also knew of one Engineer Erwin Diaz who was recruiting applicants
"There is no direct and express denial by Mr. Diaz of the following testimonies of the for Brunei.
complainants:
1] That they had asked Mr. Diaz if he was 'recruiting applicants for Brunei' and he Accompanied by Mrs. Aplicador, the three women went to Mr. Lim who told them that
said 'Yes'. his children had already applied with Engr. Diaz. The four women were then
2] That when asked what his requirements were, he said four passport size pictures, accompanied by Mr. Lim to the CIS Detention Center where Engr. Diaz was already
bio-data, income tax returns, medical certificates, NBI clearance, passport, P2,500 for being detained. After Navarro and Ramirez had already given 20k as placement fee,
processing fee, and P65,000 as placement fee, but only P20,000 for plane fare was Fabricante went to the office of the POEA and found out the Engr. Diaz was not
to be paid as the balance of P45,000 was payable by salary deductions. licensed. Fabricante informed the two women about her discovery and they all
3] That he was asked by the complainants as to what agency he would be referring withdrew their applications. Engr. Diaz refunded their payments.
them, he said 'the name of the agency is confidential but the owner thereof is one
Erlinda Romualdez, who used to be his mistress'; that the complainants did not have The trial court held Engr. Diaz guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale.
to worry because 'it is a government project and then he said he'd escort us to the
Philippine Plaza Hotel for briefing before leaving for abroad and after the briefing we ISSUE: WON Diaz was engaged in illegal recruitment.
will proceed to POEA where we will sign our contract and after the signing that is the
time we will give the P20,000, and then we will proceed to the residence of Erlinda HELD: YES. Diaz was neither a licensee nor a holder of authority to qualify him to
Romualdez where we will be staying for three days.' lawfully engage in recruitment and placement activity. Appellant told the three women
4] That Mr. Diaz told the complainants that they would be working 'as salesgirls in one that he was recruiting contract workers for abroad, particularly Brunei, and promised
of the department stores in Brunei, that they will be getting $700 a month and they will them job opportunities if they can produce various amounts of money for expenses
be only working four hours a day' and processing of documents. He manifestly gave the impression to the three women
These are definitely prohibited practices or activities constituting large scale illegal that he had the ability to send workers abroad. Misrepresenting himself as a recruiter
recruitment according to the above quoted provisions of the law. There is no denial of of workers for Brunei, he promised them work for a fee and convinced them to give
[23]
these by the accused." their money for the purpose of getting an employment overseas.
This Court is aware of a new law, R.A. 8042, otherwise known as Migrant Workers for
Overseas Employment, which was approved on June 07, 1995. It is An Act to Institute
the Policies of Overseas Employment and Establish a Higher Standard of Protection
DIGEST DARVIN VS CA
G.R. No. 125044
July 13, 1998

FACTS: Imelda Darvin was convicted of simple illegal recruitment under the Labor
Code by the RTC. It stemmed from a complaint of one Macaria Toledo who was
convinced by the petitioner that she has the authority to recruit workers for abroad
and can facilitate the necessary papers in connection thereof. In view of this promise,
Macaria gave her P150,000 supposedly intended for US Visa and air fare.

On appeal, the CA affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto, hence this petition.

ISSUE:WON appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment.

HELD: Art. 38 of the Labor Code provides:

a.)Any recruitment activities, including the prohibited practices enumerated under


Article 43 of the Labor Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of
authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code.

Applied to the present case, to uphold the conviction of accused-appellant, two


elements need to be shown: (1) the person charged with the crime must have
undertaken recruitment activities: and (2) the said person does not have a license or
authority to do so.

In the case, the Court found no sufficient evidence to prove that accused-
appellant offered a job to private respondent. It is not clear that accused gave the
impression that she was capable of providing the private respondent work abroad.
What is established, however, is that the private respondent gave accused-appellant
P150,000.By themselves, procuring a passport, airline tickets and foreign visa for
another individual, without more, can hardly qualify as recruitment activities. Aside
from the testimony of private respondent, there is nothing to show that appellant
engaged in recruitment activities.

At best, the evidence proffered by the prosecution only goes so far as to


create a suspicion that appellant probably perpetrated the crime charged. But
suspicion alone is insufficient, the required quantum of evidence being proof beyond
reasonable doubt. When the Peoples evidence fail to indubitably prove the accuseds
authorship of the crime of which he stand accused, then it is the Courts duty, and the
accuseds right, to proclaim his innocence.
On the other hand, the appeal taken by Oscar Irineo, Rogelio Damian, Antonio
G.R. No. 87698 September 24, 1991 Rabasco, resulted in a decision promulgated on September 23, 1983 by the
7
Intermediate Appellate Court, affirming the judgment of conviction only as regards
Rogelio Damian, but acquitting Irineo and Rabasco "on grounds of reasonable
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner, doubt."
8
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and OSCAR
IRINEO, respondents. On May 10, 1984, seventeen (17) years after the termination of his employment on
August 23, 1967, Irineo filed a complaint against PAL for reinstatement and back
wages on the claim that that termination was illegal. It is the action thus instituted that
NARVASA, J.: has given rise to the proceedings now before this Court.

This case treats of an employee of Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL), who was dismissed Irineo's action eventuated in a decision of the Labor Arbiter dated November 12,
from his work on August 23, 1967 on the basis of the findings and recommendations 9
1985, decreeing his reinstatement to his position in 1967 without loss of seniority
of a Fact Finding Panel, submitted on August 11, 1967 after an investigation rights and the payment to him of back wages "from August 13, 1967 up to his actual
1
commenced in July, 1967 in coordination with a well known accounting firm. The reinstatement," as well as moral damages in the amount of P300,000.00.
Fact Finding Panel recommended the criminal prosecution of the employee, Oscar
Irineo, together with four others, namely: Rogelio Damian, Antonio Rabasco, Jacinto
Macatol and Jesus Saba, on account of complicity in irregular refunds of international The Arbiter overruled the defense of prescription asserted by PAL, among others.
plane tickets.
2 The Arbiter held that since there was a PAL circular dated June 15, 1966 to the effect
that "(a)n employee charged with any crime inimical to the company's interest shall be
placed under preventive suspension until the final adjudication of his case," and there
On the basis of the panel's report, and the testimony of witnesses taken in the course was, too, a standing order by the Court of Industrial Relations at that time forbidding
of the investigation, criminal proceedings were also initiated against four of the PAL the dismissal of any employee by PAL without court authority, the termination by PAL
employees above named, namely: Oscar Irineo, Rogelio Damian, Antonio Rabasco, of Irineo's employment on August 23, 1967 merely "amounted to a suspension per
and Jacinto Macatol. They were prosecuted for estafa thru falsification of commercial (said) PAL IRD Circular No. 66-11." According to the Arbiter, said IRD Circular No.
documents in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, under an information filed by the 66-11 was not raised in issue in the earlier case instituted by Macatol, supra, and
10
3
Provincial Fiscal on September 25, 1968. The case resulted in the conviction after this serves to distinguish Macatol's case from Irineo's, precluding reaching a
due trial of all the accused on March 1, 1976; this, despite the fiscal's having earlier conclusion in the latter similar to that in the former (i.e., that the claim was barred by
4
moved for the dismissal of the charges as against Irineo and Macatol. prescription). The Arbiter held, in fine, that in view of said Circular No. 66-11, PAL's
termination of Irineo's employment should be deemed only as an act by which "Irineo
All four (4) defendants filed motions for reconsideration and/or new trial. All the was placed under preventive suspension until his (criminal) case was finally
motions were denied except Macatol's. After due hearing on said motions, the Trial adjudicated, for after all, the arbitration branch of the Commission should put meaning
Court rendered an amended decision dated September 23, 1977 absolving Macatol to the law between the parties and unless such law between the parties are (sic)
of any liability for the offense charged, "for lack of sufficient evidence." The other implemented the same would become useless." The Arbiter concluded with the
5
three appealed. following disposition:

On July 6, 1978 about twelve (12) years after his dismissal from employment WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered directing PAL to terminate the
Macatol filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against PAL in the Department of Labor. suspension of Irineo which it imposed on August 23, 1967 and to reinstate
His complaint was however dismissed by the Labor Arbiter on the ground that his him to his position without loss of seniority rights and with backwages from
right of action had prescribed. That dismissal was affirmed by the National Labor August 13, 1967 up to his actual reinstatement.
Relations Commission in a decision promulgated on May 30, 1980. The Commission
ruled that "the running of the prescriptive period ... commenced on the date ... Lastly, moral damages in the amount of P300,000.00 is (sic) awarded to
(Macatol's) cause of action accrued;" that such cause of action did not accrue "upon complainant.
the termination of the criminal case," but upon "his dismissal, the legality or illegality
of which could be determined soon after it was effected ... (and a) suit to contest its
legality could proceed independently of any criminal proceedings;" that "if no criminal PAL appealed to the NLRC but failed to obtain reversal of the Arbiter's judgment. In a
case was instituted, following the logic of the complainant's argument, the cause of Resolution promulgated on February 28, 1989, the Third Division of the NLRC upheld
11
action would not and could not have accrued at all; ... (and) the institution of the all the Arbiter's conclusions. The NLRC agreed with the Arbiter that "applying the
criminal action did not bar the complainant from filing a complaint for illegal mandate of IRD Circular No. 66-11 which respondent PAL itself solely promulgated,"
dismissal."
6 Irineo was never dismissed from employment but "was merely under preventive
suspension;" and that PAL's termination of Irineo's work was violative of the
"Injunction Order dated September 3, 1963 in CIR Case No. 43-IPA" (forbidding,
during the pendency of said case, the dismissal of any employee by PAL without To say, as both the Arbiter and the respondent Commission do, that that declaration,
court authority), even though that order "lost its efficacy when the parties concerned "you are dismissed from the service effective immediately," should be construed
entered into a valid Certified Bargaining Agreement" (on December 7, 1965, merely as a suspension, not a dismissal, from employment, is illogical if not downright
12
according to petitioner PAL ). It also affirmed the award of moral damages. ludicrous. They attempt to justify this conclusion by adverting to a PAL circular dated
June 15, 1966 to the effect that "(a)n employee charged with any crime inimical to the
PAL is now before this Court, praying for the issuance of a writ of certiorari to nullify company's interest shall be placed under preventive suspension until the final
and set aside the NLRC Resolution of February 28, 1989 as constituting "a plain case adjudication of his case," and construe this as a complete foreclosure or prohibition of
of patent abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of the same any alternative or concurrent action on PAL's part, such as the imposition of
an exemplary example of power arbitrarily exercised without due regard to the rule administrative sanctions or penalties; in other words, any disciplinary action against
of law." The Court issued a temporary restraining order on April 26, 1989 prohibiting an erring employee was absolutely dependent on the outcome of the criminal action
enforcement or implementation of the challenged resolution.
13 against the latter, no disciplinary measure of any nature being permissible against the
employee "until the final adjudication" of his criminal case. It is a construction that has
nothing to support it, is contrary to common sense, and one certainly not justified by
Required to comment in public respondent's behalf, the Office of the Solicitor General the recorded facts.
begged to be excused, declaring that "(a)fter an exhaustive and judicious scrutiny of
the records of the case, as well as the applicable law and jurisprudence on the issues
involved, ... (it could not), without violating the law, espouse the position taken by the The attempt to sustain the strained theory of dismissal-qua-suspension by referring to
14
respondent ... (NLRC) ..." Comments were filed by private respondent and the a standing order by the Court of Industrial Relations at that time forbidding the
15
Senior Research Attorney of the NLRC in the latter's behalf, which the Court dismissal of any employee by PAL without court authority, is equally indefensible.
resolved to treat as their answers to PAL's petition. That prohibition was imposed only in relation to a labor dispute then pending before
the Court of Industrial Relations. That dispute however ended when the parties
entered into a collective bargaining agreement two (2) years or so before Irineo was
In light of the material facts above set out, it is not indeed possible, as the Solicitor fired on August 23, 1967. In other words, when Irineo's employment was terminated,
General holds, to defend the decision of the respondent Commission or that of the the CIR injunction adverted was already functions officio and could no longer have
Labor Arbiter. any relevance to that event.

That there should be care and solicitude in the protection and vindication of the rights There is moreover, nothing in the record to excuse respondent Irineo's omission to
of workingmen cannot be gainsaid; but that care and solicitude can not justify impugn his termination of employment by PAL in line with the respondent
disregard of relevant facts or eschewal of rationality in the construction of the text of commission's theory, i.e., that under existing PAL rules and the CIR injunction, he
applicable rules in order to arrive at a disposition in favor of an employee who is could only be placed under preventive suspension and therefore his dismissal was
perceived as otherwise deserving of sympathy and commiseration. illegal. His assertion thereof after seventeen (17) years from his discharge from
employment can only mean that he slept on his rights or that his counsel did not
The letter to Oscar Irineo of then PAL President Benigno P. Toda, Jr. dated August share the respondent Commission's belief in the soundness of the theory. His claim
23, 1967, based evidently on the investigation and report of the fact finding panel, must thus be rejected as time-barred, as being unpardonably tardy.
leaves no doubt that Irineo's employment was being ended; the language is plain and
16
categorical. It reads pertinently as follows: Premises considered, it appears clear to the Court that the respondent Commission's
conclusions are flawed by errors so serious as to constitute grave abuse of discretion
To: Oscar Ireneo and should on this account be struck down.

Comptroller's Department WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and issues the writ of certiorari prayed
for, NULLIFYING AND SETTING ASIDE the respondent Commission's Resolutions
For being involved in the irregular refund of tickets in the international promulgated on February 28, 1989 and on March 20, 1989, MAKING PERMANENT
service to the damage and prejudice of the company, you are dismissed the temporary restraining order issued by this Court on April 26, 1989, and
from the service effective immediately. DISMISSING private respondent's complaint. No costs.

The acts committed being criminal, resulting in the swindling of the SO ORDERED.
company, the Legal Department is directed to file immediately the
corresponding criminal cases against you.
DIGEST: PAL vs NLRC HELD: The petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The portion of the assailed decision awarding
moral damages to private respondent is DELETED. All other aspects of the decision are
AFFIRMED
FACTS: Private respondent Dr. Fabros was employed as flight surgeon at petitioner company. 1. The legality of private respondents suspension: Dr. Fabros left the clinic that night only to
He was assigned at the PAL Medical Clinic and was on duty from 4:00 in the afternoon until have his dinner at his house, which was only a few minutes drive away from the clinic. His
12:00 midnight. whereabouts were known to the nurse on duty so that he could be easily reached in case of
On Feb.17, 1994, at around 7:00 in the evening, Dr. FAbros left the clinic to have his dinner at emergency. Upon being informed of Mr. Acostas condition, private respondent immediately left
his residence, which was abou t5-minute drive away. A few minutes later, the clinic received an his home and returned to the clinic. These facts belie petitioners claim of abandonment.
emergency call from the PAL Cargo Services. One of its employeeshad suffered a heart attack. Petitioner argues that being a full-time employee, private respondent is obliged to stay in the
The nurse on duty, Mr. Eusebio, called private respondent at home to inform him of the company premises for not less than eight (8) hours. Hence, he may not leave the company
emergency. The patient arrived at the clinic at 7:50 in the evening and Mr. Eusebio immediately premises during such time, even to take his meals. We are not impressed. Art. 83 and 85 of the
rushed him to the hospital. When Dr. Fabros reached the clinic at around 7:51 in the evening, Labor Code read: Art. 83. Normal hours of work. The normal hours of work of any employee
Mr. Eusebio had already left with the patient to the hospital. The patient died the following day. shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day. Health personnel in cities and municipalities with a
Upon learning about the incident, PAL Medical Director ordered the Chief Flight Surgeon to population of at least one million (1,000,000) or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at
conduct an investigation. In his explanation, Dr. Fabros asserted that he was entitled to a thirty- least one hundred (100) shall hold regular office hours for eight (8) hours a day, for five (5) days
minute meal break; that he immediately left his residence upon being informed by Mr. Eusebio a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such
about the emergency and he arrived at the clinic a few minutes later; that Mr. Eusebio panicked personnel work for six (6) days or forty-eight (48) hours, in which case they shall be entitled to
and brought the patient to the hospital without waiting for him. an additional compensation of at least thirty per cent (30%) of their regular wage for work on the
sixth day. For purposes of this Article, health personnel shall include: resident physicians,
nurses, nutritionists, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical
Finding private respondents explanation unacceptable, the management charged private technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other hospital or clinic personnel.
respondent with abandonment of post while on duty. He denied that he abandoned his post on (emphasis supplied) Art. 85. Meal periods. Subject to such regulations as the Secretary of
February 17, 1994. He said that he only left the clinic to have his dinner at home. In fact, he Labor may prescribe, it shall be the duty of every employer to give his employees not less than
returned to the clinic at 7:51 in the evening upon being informed of the emergency. sixty (60) minutes time-off for their regular meals. Sec. 7, Rule I, Book III of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing the Labor Code further states: Sec. 7. Meal and Rest Periods. Every employer
shall give his employees, regardless of sex, not less than one (1) hour time-off for regular meals,
After evaluating the charge as well as the answer of private respondent, he was given a except in the following cases when a meal period of not less than twenty (20) minutes may be
suspension for three months effective December 16, 1994. given by the employer provided that such shorter meal period is credited as compensable hours
worked of the employee; (a) Where the work is non-manual work in nature or does not involve
strenuous physical exertion; (b) Where the establishment regularly operates not less than
sixteen hours a day; (c) In cases of actual or impending emergencies or there is urgent work to
Private respondent filed a complaint for illegal suspension against petitioner. be performed on machineries, equipment or installations to avoid serious loss which the
employer would otherwise suffer; and (d) Where the work is necessary to prevent serious loss of
perishable goods. Rest periods or coffee breaks running from five (5) to twenty (20) minutes
On July 16, 1996, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision declaring the suspension of private shall be considered as compensable working time. Thus, the eight-hour work period does not
respondent illegal. It also ordered petitioner to pay private respondent the amount equivalent to include the meal break. Nowhere in the law may it be inferred that employees must take their
all the benefits he should have received during his period of suspension plus P500,000.00 moral meals within the company premises. Employees are not prohibited from going out of the
damages. premises as long as they return to their posts on time. Private respondents act, therefore, of
going home to take his dinner does not constitute abandonment. 2. The award of moral
damages: Not every employee who is illegally dismissed or suspended is entitled to damages.
Petitioner appealed to the NLRC. As a rule, moral damages are recoverable only where the dismissal or suspension of the
employee was attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted an act oppressive to labor, or was
done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy In the case at bar, there is
The NLRC, however, dismissed the appeal after finding that the decision of the Labor Arbiter is no showing that the management of petitioner company was moved by some evil motive in
supported by the facts on record and the law on the matter. The NLRC likewise denied suspending private respondent. It suspended private respondent on an honest, albeit erroneous,
petitioners motion for reconsideration. belief that private respondents act of leaving the company premises to take his meal at home
constituted abandonment of post which warrants the penalty of suspension. Under the
circumstances, we hold that private respondent is not entitled to moral damages.
Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:
1. WON the nullifying of the 3-month suspension by the NLRC erroneous.

2. WON the awarding of moral damages is proper.


agreed and went to the formers office. This office which bore the
THIRD DIVISION business name Bayside Manpower Export Specialist was in a
building situated at Bautista St. Buendia, Makati, Metro Manila. In
ROSA C. RODOLFO, G.R. No. 146964 that office, private complainants gave certain amounts to appellant
Petitioner, for processing and other fees. Ferre gave P1,000.00 as processing
Present: fee (Exhibit A) and another P4,000.00 (Exhibit B). Likewise, Corpus
gave appellant P7,000.00 (Exhibit D). Appellant then told private
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, complainants that they were scheduled to leave
- versus - CARPIO, for Dubai on September 8, 1984. However, private complainants
CARPIO MORALES, and all the other applicants were not able to depart on the said date
TINGA, and as their employer allegedly did not arrive. Thus, their departure was
VELASCO, JR., JJ. rescheduled to September 23, but the result was the same.
PEOPLE OF THE Promulgated: Suspecting that they were being hoodwinked, private complainants
PHILIPPINES, August 10, 2006 demanded of appellant to return their money. Except for the refund
Respondent. of P1,000.00 to Ferre, appellant was not able to return private
complainants money. Tired of excuses, private complainants filed
Petitioner was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati for illegal the present case for illegal recruitment against the accused-
recruitment alleged to have been committed as follows: appellant.

That in or about and during the period from August to To prove that accused-appellant had no authority to recruit
September 1984, in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within workers for overseas employment, the prosecution presented Jose
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Valeriano, a Senior Overseas Employment Officer of the Philippine
representing herself to have the capacity to contract, enlist and Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), who testified that accused-
transport Filipino workers for employment abroad, did then and appellant was neither licensed nor authorized by the then Ministry of
there willfully and unlawfully, for a fee, recruit and promise Labor and Employment to recruit workers for overseas employment.
employment/job placement abroad to VILLAMOR ALCANTARA,
[1]
NARCISO CORPUZ, NECITAS R. FERRE, GERARDO H. For her defense, appellant denied ever approaching
TAPAWAN and JOVITO L. CAMA, without first securing the private complainants to recruit them for employment in Dubai. On
required license or authority from the Ministry of Labor and the contrary, it was the private complainants who asked her help in
[2]
Employment. securing jobs abroad. As a good neighbor and friend, she brought
the private complainants to the Bayside Manpower Export
[5]
Specialist agency because she knew Florante Hinahon, the owner
After trial on the merits, Branch 61 of the Makati RTC rendered its Judgment on of the said agency. While accused-appellant admitted that she
[3]
the case, the decretal portion of which reads: received money from the private complainants, she was quick to
point out that she received the same only in trust for delivery to the
WHEREFORE, PREMISES ABOVE CONSIDERED, the agency. She denied being part of the agency either as an owner or
Court finds the accused ROSA C. RODOLFO as GUILTY of the employee thereof. To corroborate appellants testimony, Milagros
offense of ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT and hereby sentences her [to] Cuadra, who was also an applicant and a companion of private
a penalty of imprisonment of EIGHT YEARS and to pay the complainants, testified that appellant did not recruit them. On the
[4]
costs. (Underscoring supplied) contrary, they were the ones who asked help from appellant. To
In so imposing the penalty, the trial court took note of the fact that while the further bolster the defense, Eriberto C. Tabing, the accountant and
information reflected the commission of illegal recruitment in large scale, only the cashier of the agency, testified that appellant is not connected with
complaint of the two of the five complainants was proven. the agency and that he saw appellant received money from the
applicants but she turned them over to the agency through either
[6]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals correctly synthesized the evidence Florantino Hinahon or Luzviminda Marcos. (Emphasis and
presented by the parties as follows: underscoring supplied)

[The evidence for the prosecution] shows that sometime In light thereof, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court but modified
in August and September 1984, accused-appellant approached the penalty imposed due to the trial courts failure to apply the Indeterminate Sentence
private complainants Necitas Ferre and Narciso Corpus individually Law
and invited them to apply for overseas employment in Dubai. The The appellate court thus disposed:
accused-appellant being their neighbor, private complainants
The elements of the offense of illegal recruitment, which must concur, are: (1)
WHEREFORE, finding no merit in the appeal, this Court that the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to lawfully engage in
DISMISSES it and AFFIRMS the appealed Decision EXCEPT recruitment and placement of workers; and (2) that the offender undertakes any
the penalty x x x which is hereby changed to five (5) years as activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement under Article 13(b), or any
[13]
minimum to seven (7) years as maximum with perpetual prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of the Labor Code. If another
disqualification from engaging in the business of recruitment and element is present that the accused commits the act against three or more persons,
[7] [14]
placement of workers. (Underscoring supplied) individually or as a group, it becomes an illegal recruitment in a large scale.
[8]
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration having been denied, the present Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defines recruitment and placement as [a]ny
petition was filed, faulting the appellate court act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring
workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for
I employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not. (Underscoring supplied)
x x x IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE That the first element is present in the case at bar, there is no doubt. Jose
COMPLAINING WITNESSES, [AND] Valeriano, Senior Overseas Employment Officer of the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration, testified that the records of the POEA do not show that
[15]
II petitioner is authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment. A Certification
x x x IN FINDING THE PETITIONER-ACCUSED GUILTY WHEN to that effect was in fact issued by Hermogenes C. Mateo, Chief of the Licensing
[16]
THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE HER GUILT BEYOND Division of POEA.
[9]
REASONABLE DOUBT. (Underscoring supplied)
Petitioners disclaimer of having engaged in recruitment activities from the
Petitioner bewails the failure of the trial court and the Court of Appeals to very start does not persuade in light of the evidence for the prosecution.In People v.
credit the testimonies of her witnesses, her companion Milagros Cuadra, and Eriberto Alvarez, this Court held:
C. Tabing who is an accountant-cashier of the agency.
Appellant denies that she engaged in acts of recruitment and
Further, petitioner assails the trial courts and the appellate courts failure to placement without first complying with the guidelines issued by the
consider that the provisional receipts she issued indicated that the amounts she Department of Labor and Employment. She contends that she did not
collected from the private complainants were turned over to the agency through Minda possess any license for recruitment, because she never engaged in
Marcos and Florante Hinahon. At any rate, she draws attention to People v. such activity.
[10]
Seoron wherein this Court held that the issuance or signing of receipts for
[11]
placement fees does not make a case for illegal recruitment. We are not persuaded. In weighing contradictory declarations
The petition fails. and statements, greater weight must be given to the positive
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses than to the denial of the
Articles 38 and 39 of the Labor Code, the legal provisions applicable when defendant. Article 38 (a) clearly shows that illegal recruitment is an
[12]
the offense charged was committed, provided: offense that is essentially committed by a non-licensee or non-holder
of authority. A non-licensee means any person, corporation or entity to
ART. 38. Illegal Recruitment. (a) Any recruitment activities, which the labor secretary has not issued a valid license or authority to
including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of this engage in recruitment and placement; or whose license or authority
Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority has been suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA or the labor
shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of this Code. x secretary. A license authorizes a person or an entity to operate a
xx private employment agency, while authority is given to those engaged
Article 39. Penalties. x x x x in recruitment and placement activities.

(c) Any person who is neither a licensee nor a holder of xxxx


authority under this Title found violating any provision thereof or its
implementing rules and regulations shall, upon conviction thereof, That appellant in this case had been neither licensed nor
suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than four years nor more authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment was certified by
than eight years or a fine of not less than P20,000 nor more Veneranda C. Guerrero, officer-in-charge of the Licensing and
than P100,000 or both such imprisonment and fine, at the discretion of Regulation Office; and Ma. Salome S. Mendoza, manager of the
the court; Licensing Branch both of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration. Yet, as complainants convincingly proved, she
[17]
recruited them for jobs in Taiwan. (Italics in the original;
underscoring supplied)
the minimum term prescribed by the same. (As amended by Act
No. 4225) (Underscoring supplied)
The second element is doubtless also present. The act of referral, which is
[18]
included in recruitment, is the act of passing along or forwarding of an applicant for While the penalty of imprisonment imposed by the appellate court is within
employment after an initial interview of a selected applicant for employment to a the prescribed penalty for the offense, its addition of perpetual disqualification from
[19]
selected employer, placement officer or bureau. Petitioners admission that she engaging in the business of recruitment and placement of workers is not part
brought private complainants to the agency whose owner she knows and her thereof. Such additional penalty must thus be stricken off.
acceptance of fees including those for processing betrays her guilt.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution
That petitioner issued provisional receipts indicating that the amounts she of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the accessory
received from the private complainants were turned over to Luzviminda Marcos and penalty imposed by it consisting of perpetual disqualification from engaging in the
Florante Hinahon does not free her from liability. For the act of recruitment may be for business of recruitment and placement of workers is DELETED.
profit or not. It is sufficient that the accused promises or offers for a fee employment to
[20]
warrant conviction for illegal recruitment. As the appellate court stated: Costs against petitioner.

x x x Sec. 13(b) of P.D. 442 [The Labor Code] does not require SO ORDERED.
that the recruiter receives and keeps the placement money for
himself or herself. For as long as a person who has no license to
engage in recruitment of workers for overseas employment offers
for a fee an employment to two or more persons, then he or she is
[21]
guilty of illegal recruitment.
Parenthetically, why petitioner accepted the payment of fees from the private
complainants when, in light of her claim that she merely brought them to the agency,
she could have advised them to directly pay the same to the agency, she proferred no
explanation.
[22]
On petitioners reliance on Seoron, true, this Court held that issuance of
receipts for placement fees does not make a case for illegal recruitment.But it went on
to state that it is rather the undertaking of recruitment activities without the necessary
[23]
license or authority that makes a case for illegal recruitment.

A word on the penalty. Indeed, the trial court failed to apply the Indeterminate
Sentence Law which also applies to offenses punished by special laws.

Thus, Section 1 of Act No. 4103 (AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR AN


INDETERMINATE SENTENCE AND PAROLE FOR ALL PERSONS CONVICTED
OF CERTAIN CRIMES BY THE COURTS OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; TO
CREATE A BOARD OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCE AND TO PROVIDE FUNDS
THEREFOR; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES) provides:

SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for


an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its
amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an
indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that
which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly
imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which
shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed
by the Code for the offense; and if the offense is punished by any
other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the
maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than
DIGEST: procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising
for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not.

ROSA C. RODOLFO That the first element is present in the case at bar, there is no doubt. Jose Valeriano,
Senior Overseas Employment Officer of the Philippine Overseas
VS Employment Administration, testified that the records of the POEA do not show that
Rodolfo is authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment. A Certification to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES that effect was in fact issued by Hermogenes C. Mateo, Chief of the Licensing
498 SCRA 377 (2006) Division of POEA.

Promises or offers for a fee employment is sufficient to warrant conviction for The second element is doubtless also present. The act of referral, which is included
illegal recruitment. in recruitment, is the act of passing along or forwarding of an applicant for
employment after an initial interview of a selected applicant for employment to a
selected employer, placement officer or bureau. Rodolfos admission that she
Petitioner Rosa C. Rodolfo approached private complainants Necitas Ferre and brought private complainants to the agency whose owner she knows and
Narciso Corpus individually and invited them to apply for overseas employment in her acceptance of fees including those for processing betrays her guilt.
Dubai. Rodolfo, being their neighbor, Ferre and Corpus agreed and went to the
formers office. The office bore the business name Bayside Manpower Export
Specialist. In that office, Ferre gave P1,000.00 as processing fee and another Rodolfo issued provisional receipts indicating that the amounts she received from the
P4,000.00. Likewise, Corpus gave Rodolfo P7,000.00. Rodolfo then told Ferre and private complainants were turned over to Luzviminda Marcos and Florante Hinahon
Corpus that they were scheduled to leave for Dubai. However, private complainants does not free her from liability. For the act of recruitmentmay be for profit or not. It
and all the other applicantswere not able to depart on the scheduled date as their is sufficient that the accused promises or offers for a fee employment to warrant
employer allegedly did not arrive. Thus, their departure was rescheduled, but the conviction for illegal recruitment. Parenthetically, why Rodolfo accepted the payment
result was the same. Suspecting that they were being hoodwinked, Ferre and Corpus of fees from the private complainants when, in light of her claim that she
demanded of Rodolfo to return their money. Except for the refund of P1,000.00 to merely brought them to the agency, she could have advised them to directly pay the
Ferre, Rodolfo was not able to return Ferres and Corpus money. Ferre, Corpus and same to the agency, she proferred no explanation.
three others then filed a case for illegal recruitment in large scale with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Rodolfo. On Rodolfos reliance on Seoron, true, the Court held that issuance of receipts for
placement fees does not make a case for illegal recruitment. But it went on to state
The RTC rendered judgement against Rodolfo but in imposing the penalty, the RTC that it is rather the undertaking of recruitment activities without the necessary
took note of the fact that while the information reflected the commission of license or authority that makes a case for illegal recruitment.
illegal recruitment in large scale, only the complaint of two (Ferre and Corpus) of the
five complainants was proven. Rodolfo appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA). The
CA dismissed the petition but modified the penalty imposed by the trial court. The CA
also dismissed Rodolfos Motion for Reconsideration.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Rodolfo is guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale

HELD:
The elements of the offense of illegal recruitment, which must concur, are: (1) that the
offender has no valid license or authority required by law to lawfully engage
in recruitment and placement of workers; and (2) that the offender undertakes any
activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement under Article 13(b), or any
prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of the Labor Code. If another
element is present that the accused commits the act against three or more persons,
individually or as a group, it becomes an illegal recruitment in a large scale.

Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defines recruitment and placement as


[a]ny act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or
G.R. No. 170139 August 5, 2014 Sameer Overseas Placement Agency alleged that respondent's termination was due
to her inefficiency, negligence in her duties, and her "failure to comply with the work
21
SAMEER OVERSEAS PLACEMENT AGENCY, INC., Petitioner, requirements [of] her foreign [employer]." The agency also claimed that it did not
22
vs. ask for a placement fee of 70,000.00. As evidence, it showedOfficial Receipt No.
23
JOY C. CABILES, Respondent. 14860 dated June 10, 1997, bearing the amount of 20,360.00. Petitioner added
that Wacoal's accreditation with petitioner had already been transferred to the Pacific
24
Manpower & Management Services, Inc. (Pacific) as of August 6, 1997. Thus,
DECISION petitioner asserts that it was already substituted by Pacific Manpower.
25

LEONEN, J.: 26
Pacific Manpower moved for the dismissal of petitioners claims against it. It alleged
27
that there was no employer-employee relationship between them. Therefore, the
28
This case involves an overseas Filipino worker with shattered dreams. It is our duty, claims against it were outside the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter. Pacific Manpower
given the facts and the law, to approximate justice for her. argued that the employment contract should first be presented so that the employers
29
contractual obligations might be identified. It further denied that it assumed liability
30
1
We are asked to decide a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Court of for petitioners illegal acts.
2
Appeals decision dated June 27, 2005. This decision partially affirmed the National
3 31
Labor RelationsCommissions resolution dated March 31, 2004, declaring On July 29, 1998, the Labor Arbiter dismissed Joys complaint. Acting Executive
respondents dismissal illegal, directing petitioner to pay respondents three-month Labor Arbiter Pedro C.Ramos ruled that her complaint was based on
32
salary equivalent to New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) 46,080.00, and ordering it to reimburse mereallegations. The Labor Arbiter found that there was no excess payment of
4 33
the NT$3,000.00 withheld from respondent, and pay her NT$300.00 attorneys fees. placement fees, based on the official receipt presented by petitioner. The Labor
Arbiter found unnecessary a discussion on petitioners transfer of obligations to
34
Petitioner, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc., is a recruitment and placement Pacific and considered the matter immaterial in view of the dismissal of
35
5
agency. Responding to an ad it published, respondent, Joy C. Cabiles, submitted her respondents complaint.
6
application for a quality control job in Taiwan.
36
Joy appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission.
7
Joys application was accepted. Joy was later asked to sign a oneyear employment
8 37
contract for a monthly salary of NT$15,360.00. She alleged that Sameer Overseas In a resolution dated March 31, 2004, the National Labor Relations Commission
38
Agency required her to pay a placement fee of 70,000.00 when she signed the declared that Joy was illegally dismissed. It reiterated the doctrine that the burden of
9
employment contract. proof to show that the dismissal was based on a just or valid cause belongs to the
39
employer. It found that Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to prove that
40
Joy was deployed to work for TaiwanWacoal, Co. Ltd. (Wacoal) on June 26, there were just causes for termination. There was no sufficient proofto show that
10
1997. She alleged that in her employment contract, she agreed to work as quality respondent was inefficient in her work and that she failed to comply with company
41
11
control for one year. In Taiwan, she was asked to work as a cutter.
12 requirements. Furthermore, procedural dueprocess was not observed in terminating
42
respondent.

Sameer Overseas Placement Agencyclaims that on July 14, 1997, a certain Mr.
Huwang from Wacoal informedJoy, without prior notice, that she was terminated and The National Labor Relations Commission did not rule on the issue of reimbursement
43
that "she should immediately report to their office to get her salary and of placement fees for lack of jurisdiction. It refused to entertain the issue of the
44
13
passport." She was asked to "prepare for immediate repatriation."
14 alleged transfer of obligations to Pacific. It did not acquire jurisdiction over that issue
because Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to appeal the Labor Arbiters
45
decision not to rule on the matter.
Joy claims that she was told that from June 26 to July 14, 1997, she only earned a
15
total of NT$9,000. According to her, Wacoal deducted NT$3,000 to cover her plane
ticket to Manila.
16 The National Labor Relations Commission awarded respondent only three (3) months
worth of salaryin the amount of NT$46,080, the reimbursement of the NT$3,000
46
17
withheld from her, and attorneys fees of NT$300.
On October 15, 1997, Joy filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations
Commission against petitioner and Wacoal. She claimed that she was illegally 47
18
dismissed. She asked for the return of her placement fee, the withheld amount for The Commission denied the agencys motion for reconsideration dated May 12,
48
repatriation costs, payment of her salary for 23 months as well as moral and 2004 through a resolution dated July 2, 2004.
19
exemplary damages. She identified Wacoal as Sameer Overseas Placement
20
Agencys foreign principal.
Aggrieved by the ruling, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency caused the filing of a assume responsibility for Wacoals contractual obligations to the workers originally
49 57
petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals assailing the National Labor recruited by petitioner.
Relations Commissions resolutions dated March 31, 2004 and July 2, 2004.
Sameer Overseas Placement Agencyspetition is without merit. We find for
50
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the National Labor Relations respondent.
Commission with respect to the finding of illegal dismissal, Joys entitlement to the
equivalent of three months worth of salary, reimbursement of withheld repatriation I
51
expense, and attorneys fees. The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the
National Labor Relations Commission to address the validity of petitioner's allegations
52
against Pacific. The Court of Appeals held, thus: Although the public respondent Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to show that there was just cause for
found the dismissal of the complainant-respondent illegal, we should point out that the causing Joys dismissal. The employer, Wacoal, also failed to accord her due process
NLRC merely awarded her three (3) months backwages or the amount of of law.
NT$46,080.00, which was based upon its finding that she was dismissed without due
process, a finding that we uphold, given petitioners lack of worthwhile discussion Indeed, employers have the prerogative to impose productivity and quality standards
58
upon the same in the proceedings below or before us. Likewise we sustain NLRCs at work. They may also impose reasonable rules to ensure that the employees
59
finding in regard to the reimbursement of her fare, which is squarely based on the comply with these standards. Failure to comply may be a just cause for their
60
law; as well as the award of attorneys fees. dismissal. Certainly, employers cannot be compelled to retain the services of
anemployee who is guilty of acts that are inimical to the interest of the
61
But we do find it necessary to remand the instant case to the public respondent for employer. While the law acknowledges the plight and vulnerability of workers, it
further proceedings, for the purpose of addressing the validity or propriety of does not "authorize the oppression or self-destruction of the
62
petitioners third-party complaint against the transferee agent or the Pacific Manpower employer." Management prerogative is recognized in law and in our jurisprudence.
& Management Services, Inc. and Lea G. Manabat. We should emphasize that as far
as the decision of the NLRC on the claims of Joy Cabiles, is concerned, the same is This prerogative, however, should not be abused. It is "tempered with the employees
63
hereby affirmed with finality, and we hold petitioner liable thereon, but without right to security of tenure." Workers are entitled to substantive and procedural due
prejudice to further hearings on its third party complaint against Pacific for process before termination. They may not be removed from employment without a
reimbursement. validor just cause as determined by law and without going through the proper
procedure.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Resolutions are hereby partly
64
AFFIRMED in accordance with the foregoing discussion, but subject to the caveat Security of tenure for labor is guaranteed by our Constitution.
embodied inthe last sentence. No costs.
Employees are not stripped of their security of tenure when they move to work in a
53
SO ORDERED. different jurisdiction. With respect to the rights of overseas Filipino workers, we follow
the principle of lex loci contractus.Thus, in Triple Eight Integrated Services, Inc. v.
65
Dissatisfied, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency filed this petition.
54 NLRC, this court noted:

We are asked to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred when it affirmed the Petitioner likewise attempts to sidestep the medical certificate requirement by
ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission finding respondent illegally contending that since Osdana was working in Saudi Arabia, her employment was
dismissed and awarding her three months worth of salary, the reimbursement of the subject to the laws of the host country. Apparently, petitioner hopes tomake it appear
cost ofher repatriation, and attorneys fees despite the alleged existence of just that the labor laws of Saudi Arabia do not require any certification by a competent
causes of termination. public health authority in the dismissal of employees due to illness.

Petitioner reiterates that there was just cause for termination because there was a Again, petitioners argument is without merit.
55
finding of Wacoal that respondent was inefficient in her work.
First, established is the rule that lex loci contractus (the law of the place where the
Therefore, it claims that respondents dismissal was valid.
56 contract is made) governs in this jurisdiction. There is no question that the contract of
employment in this case was perfected here in the Philippines. Therefore, the Labor
Code, its implementing rules and regulations, and other laws affecting labor apply in
Petitioner also reiterates that since Wacoals accreditation was validly transferred to this case.Furthermore, settled is the rule that the courts of the forum will not enforce
Pacific at the time respondent filed her complaint, it should be Pacific that should now any foreign claim obnoxious to the forums public policy. Herein the Philippines,
employment agreements are more than contractual in nature. The Constitution itself, (a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful
in Article XIII, Section 3, guarantees the special protection of workers, to wit: orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and (b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities
for all. (c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his
employer or duly authorized representative;
It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to selforganization, collective bargaining
and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in (d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of
accordance with law. They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized
of work, and a living wage. Theyshall also participate in policy and decision-making representatives; and
processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law.
(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.
....

Petitioners allegation that respondentwas inefficient in her work and negligent in her
This public policy should be borne in mind in this case because to allow foreign 69
duties may, therefore, constitute a just cause for termination under Article 282(b),
employers to determine for and by themselves whether an overseas contract worker but only if petitioner was able to prove it.
may be dismissed on the ground of illness would encourage illegal or arbitrary
66
pretermination of employment contracts. (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted)
The burden of proving that there is just cause for termination is on the employer. "The
employer must affirmatively show rationally adequate evidence that the dismissal was
Even with respect to fundamental procedural rights, this court emphasized in PCL 70
for a justifiable cause." Failure to show that there was valid or just cause for
67
Shipping Philippines, Inc. v. NLRC, to wit: termination would necessarily mean that the dismissal was illegal.
71

Petitioners admit that they did notinform private respondent in writing of the charges To show that dismissal resulting from inefficiency in work is valid, it must be shown
against him and that they failed to conduct a formal investigation to give him that: 1) the employer has set standards of conduct and workmanship against which
opportunity to air his side. However, petitioners contend that the twin requirements the employee will be judged; 2) the standards of conduct and workmanship must
ofnotice and hearing applies strictly only when the employment is within the have been communicated tothe employee; and 3) the communication was made at a
Philippines and that these need not be strictly observed in cases of international reasonable time prior to the employees performance assessment.
maritime or overseas employment.
This is similar to the law and jurisprudence on probationary employees, which allow
The Court does not agree. The provisions of the Constitution as well as the Labor termination ofthe employee only when there is "just cause or when [the probationary
Code which afford protection to labor apply to Filipino employees whether working employee] fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable
within the Philippines or abroad. Moreover, the principle of lex loci contractus (the law standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his [or her]
of the place where the contract is made) governs in this jurisdiction. In the present engagement."
72
case, it is not disputed that the Contract of Employment entered into by and between
petitioners and private respondent was executed here in the Philippines with the
approval of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Hence, the However, we do not see why the application of that ruling should be limited to
Labor Code together with its implementing rules and regulations and other laws probationary employment. That rule is basic to the idea of security of tenure and due
68
affecting labor apply in this case. (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted) process, which are guaranteed to all employees, whether their employment is
probationary or regular.
By our laws, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) may only be terminated for a just or
authorized cause and after compliance with procedural due process requirements. The pre-determined standards that the employer sets are the bases for determining
the probationary employees fitness, propriety, efficiency, and qualifications as a
regular employee. Due process requires that the probationary employee be informed
Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes of termination by the of such standards at the time of his or her engagement so he or she can adjusthis or
employer. Thus: her character or workmanship accordingly. Proper adjustment to fit the standards
upon which the employees qualifications will be evaluated will increase ones
Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for chances of being positively assessed for regularization by his or her employer.
any of the following causes:
Assessing an employees work performance does not stop after regularization. The properly notified and given the opportunity to be heard. Her constitutional right to due
employer, on a regular basis, determines if an employee is still qualified and efficient, process of law was violated.
based on work standards. Based on that determination, and after complying with the
due process requirements of notice and hearing, the employer may exercise its II
management prerogative of terminating the employee found unqualified.
Respondent Joy Cabiles, having been illegally dismissed, is entitled to her salary for
The regular employee must constantlyattempt to prove to his or her employer that he the unexpired portion ofthe employment contract that was violated together with
or she meets all the standards for employment. This time, however, the standards to attorneys fees and reimbursement of amounts withheld from her salary.
be met are set for the purpose of retaining employment or promotion. The employee
cannot be expected to meet any standard of character or workmanship if such
standards were not communicated to him or her. Courts should remain vigilant on Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042,otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and
allegations of the employers failure to communicatework standards that would govern Overseas Filipinos Act of1995, states thatoverseas workers who were terminated
ones employment "if [these are] to discharge in good faith [their] duty to adjudicate."
73 without just, valid, or authorized cause "shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of
his placement fee with interest of twelve (12%) per annum, plus his salaries for the
unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of
In this case, petitioner merely alleged that respondent failed to comply with her the unexpired term, whichever is less."
74
foreign employers work requirements and was inefficient in her work. No evidence
was shown to support such allegations. Petitioner did not even bother to specify what
requirements were not met, what efficiency standards were violated, or what Sec. 10. MONEY CLAIMS. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the
particular acts of respondent constituted inefficiency. Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the
original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days
after filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-employee
There was also no showing that respondent was sufficiently informed of the standards relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas
against which her work efficiency and performance were judged. The parties conflict deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of
as to the position held by respondent showed that even the matter as basic as the job damages.
title was not clear.

The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any
The bare allegations of petitioner are not sufficient to support a claim that there is just and all claims under this section shall be joint and several. This provisions [sic] shall
cause for termination. There is no proof that respondent was legally terminated. be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition
precedent for its approval. The performance bond to be filed by the
Petitioner failed to comply with recruitment/placementagency, as provided by law, shall be answerable for all money
the due process requirements claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. If the recruitment/placement
agency is a juridical being, the corporate officers and directors and partners as the
Respondents dismissal less than one year from hiring and her repatriation on the case may be, shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation
same day show not onlyfailure on the partof petitioner to comply with the requirement orpartnership for the aforesaid claims and damages.
of the existence of just cause for termination. They patently show that the
employersdid not comply with the due process requirement. Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or duration of the employment
contract and shall not be affected by any substitution, amendment or modification
A valid dismissal requires both a valid cause and adherence to the valid procedure of made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract.
75
dismissal. The employer is required to give the charged employee at least two
76
written notices before termination. One of the written notices must inform the Any compromise/amicable settlement or voluntary agreement on money claims
77
employee of the particular acts that may cause his or her dismissal. The other inclusive of damages under this section shall be paid within four (4) months from the
78
notice must "[inform] the employee of the employers decision." Aside from the approval of the settlement by the appropriate authority.
79
notice requirement, the employee must also be given "an opportunity to be heard."
In case of termination of overseas employment without just, valid or authorized cause
Petitioner failed to comply with the twin notices and hearing requirements. as defined by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to the full reimbursement
Respondent started working on June 26, 1997. She was told that she was terminated of his placement fee with interest of twelve (12%) per annum, plus his salaries for the
on July 14, 1997 effective on the same day and barely a month from her first unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of
workday. She was also repatriated on the same day that she was informed of her the unexpired term, whichever is less.
termination. The abruptness of the termination negated any finding that she was
....
(Emphasis supplied) SEC. 10. Money Claims. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the
Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the
Section 15 of Republic Act No. 8042 states that "repatriation of the worker and the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days
transport of his [or her] personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-employee
agency which recruited or deployed the worker overseas." The exception is when relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas
80
"termination of employment is due solely to the fault of the worker," which as we deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damage.
have established, is not the case. It reads: SEC. 15. REPATRIATION OF Consistent with this mandate, the NLRC shall endeavor to update and keep abreast
WORKERS; EMERGENCY REPATRIATION FUND. The repatriation of the worker with the developments in the global services industry.
and the transport of his personal belongings shall be the primary responsibility of the
agency which recruited or deployed the worker overseas. All costs attendant to The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any
repatriation shall be borne by or charged to the agency concerned and/or its principal. and all claims under this section shall be joint and several. This provision shall be
Likewise, the repatriation of remains and transport of the personal belongings of a incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition
deceased worker and all costs attendant thereto shall be borne by the principal and/or precedent for its approval. The performance bond to de [sic] filed by the
local agency. However, in cases where the termination of employment is due solely to recruitment/placement agency, as provided by law, shall be answerable for all money
the fault of the worker, the principal/employer or agency shall not in any manner be claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. If the recruitment/placement
responsible for the repatriation of the former and/or his belongings. agency is a juridical being, the corporate officers and directors and partners as the
case may be, shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or
.... partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages.

81
The Labor Code also entitles the employee to 10% of the amount of withheld wages Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or duration of the employment
as attorneys feeswhen the withholding is unlawful. contract and shall not be affected by any substitution, amendment or modification
made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract.
The Court of Appeals affirmedthe National Labor Relations Commissions decision to
award respondent NT$46,080.00 or the threemonth equivalent of her salary, Any compromise/amicable settlement or voluntary agreement on money claims
attorneys fees of NT$300.00, and the reimbursement of the withheld NT$3,000.00 inclusive of damages under this section shall be paid within thirty (30) days from
salary, which answered for her repatriation. approval of the settlement by the appropriate authority.

We uphold the finding that respondent is entitled to all of these awards. The award of In case of termination of overseas employment without just, valid or authorized cause
the three-month equivalent of respondents salary should, however, be increased to as defined by law or contract, or any unauthorized deductions from the migrant
the amount equivalent to the unexpired term of the employment contract. workers salary, the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement if [sic] his
placement fee and the deductions made with interest at twelve percent (12%) per
82 annum, plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for
In Serrano v. Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and Marlow Navigation Co., Inc., this three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less.
court ruled that the clause "or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired
83
term, whichever is less" is unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause
and substantive due process.
84 In case of a final and executory judgement against a foreign employer/principal, it
shall be automatically disqualified, without further proceedings, from participating in
the Philippine Overseas Employment Program and from recruiting and hiring Filipino
A statute or provision which was declared unconstitutional is not a law. It "confers no workers until and unless it fully satisfies the judgement award.
rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is
85
inoperative as if it has not been passed at all."
Noncompliance with the mandatory periods for resolutions of case providedunder this
section shall subject the responsible officials to any or all of the following penalties:
We are aware that the clause "or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired
term, whichever is less"was reinstated in Republic Act No. 8042 upon promulgation of
Republic Act No. 10022 in 2010. Section 7 of Republic Act No. 10022 provides: (a) The salary of any such official who fails to render his decision or
resolution within the prescribed period shall be, or caused to be, withheld
until the said official complies therewith;
Section 7.Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042, as amended, is hereby amended to
read as follows:
(b) Suspension for not more than ninety (90) days; or
(c) Dismissal from the service with disqualification to hold any appointive We are not convinced by the pleadings submitted by the parties that the situation has
public office for five (5) years. so changed so as to cause us to reverse binding precedent.

Provided, however,That the penalties herein provided shall be without prejudice to Likewise, there are special reasons of judicial efficiency and economy that attend to
any liability which any such official may have incured [sic] under other existing laws or these cases. The new law puts our overseas workers in the same vulnerable position
rules and regulations as a consequence of violating the provisions of this paragraph. as they were prior to Serrano. Failure to reiterate the very ratio decidendi of that case
(Emphasis supplied) will result in the same untold economic hardships that our reading of the Constitution
intended to avoid. Obviously, we cannot countenance added expenses for further
Republic Act No. 10022 was promulgated on March 8, 2010. This means that the litigation thatwill reduce their hardearned wages as well as add to the indignity of
reinstatement of the clause in Republic Act No. 8042 was not yet in effect at the time having been deprived of the protection of our laws simply because our precedents
86
of respondents termination from work in 1997. Republic Act No. 8042 before it was have not been followed. There is no constitutional doctrine that causes injustice in the
amended byRepublic Act No. 10022 governs this case. face of empty procedural niceties. Constitutional interpretation is complex, but it is
never unreasonable.
When a law is passed, this court awaits an actual case that clearly raises adversarial 88
positions in their proper context before considering a prayer to declare it as Thus, in a resolution dated October 22, 2013, we ordered the parties and the Office
unconstitutional. of the Solicitor General to comment on the constitutionality of the reinstated clause in
Republic Act No. 10022.
However, we are confronted with a unique situation. The law passed incorporates the 89 90
exact clause already declared as unconstitutional, without any perceived substantial In its comment, petitioner argued that the clause was constitutional. The
change in the circumstances. legislators intended a balance between the employers and the employees rights by
91
not unduly burdening the local recruitment agency. Petitioner is also of the view that
92
the clause was already declared as constitutional in Serrano.
This may cause confusion on the part of the National Labor Relations Commission
and the Court of Appeals.At minimum, the existence of Republic Act No. 10022 may
delay the execution of the judgment in this case, further frustrating remedies to The Office of the Solicitor General also argued that the clause was valid and
93
assuage the wrong done to petitioner. constitutional. However, since the parties never raised the issue of the
constitutionality of the clause asreinstated in Republic Act No. 10022, its contention is
94
that it is beyond judicial review.
Hence, there is a necessity to decide this constitutional issue.
On the other hand, respondentargued that the clause was unconstitutional because it
Moreover, this court is possessed with the constitutional duty to "[p]romulgate rules infringed on workers right to contract.
95
87
concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights." When cases
become mootand academic, we do not hesitate to provide for guidance to bench and
bar in situations where the same violations are capable of repetition but will evade We observe that the reinstated clause, this time as provided in Republic Act. No.
review. This is analogous to cases where there are millions of Filipinos working 10022, violates the constitutional rights to equal protection and due
96
abroad who are bound to suffer from the lack of protection because of the restoration process. Petitioner as well as the Solicitor General have failed to show any
of an identical clause in a provision previously declared as unconstitutional. compelling changein the circumstances that would warrant us to revisit the precedent.

In the hierarchy of laws, the Constitution is supreme. No branch or office of the We reiterate our finding in Serrano v. Gallant Maritime that limiting wages that should
government may exercise its powers in any manner inconsistent with the Constitution, be recovered by anillegally dismissed overseas worker to three months is both a
regardless of the existence of any law that supports such exercise. The Constitution violation of due process and the equal protection clauses of the Constitution.
cannot be trumped by any other law. All laws must be read in light of the Constitution.
Any law that is inconsistent with it is a nullity. Equal protection of the law is a guarantee that persons under like circumstances and
falling within the same class are treated alike, in terms of "privileges conferred and
97
Thus, when a law or a provision of law is null because it is inconsistent with the liabilities enforced." It is a guarantee against "undue favor and individual or class
98
Constitution,the nullity cannot be cured by reincorporation or reenactment of the privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality."
same or a similar law or provision. A law or provision of law that was already declared
unconstitutional remains as such unless circumstances have sochanged as to In creating laws, the legislature has the power "to make distinctions and
99
warrant a reverse conclusion. classifications."
100
In exercising such power, it has a wide discretion. Observing the terminologies used inthe clause, we also found that "the subject clause
creates a sub-layer of discrimination among OFWs whose contract periods are for
101
The equal protection clause does not infringe on this legislative power. A law is more than one year: those who are illegally dismissed with less than one year left in
102
void on this basis, only if classifications are made arbitrarily. There is no violation of their contracts shall be entitled to their salaries for the entire unexpired portion
the equal protection clause if the law applies equally to persons within the same class thereof, while those who are illegally dismissed with one year or more remaining in
and if there are reasonable grounds for distinguishing between those falling within the their contracts shall be covered by the reinstated clause, and their monetary benefits
118
103
class and those who do not fall within the class. A law that does not violate the limited to their salaries for three months only."
104
equal protection clause prescribesa reasonable classification.
We do not need strict scrutiny to conclude that these classifications do not rest on any
A reasonable classification "(1) must rest on substantial distinctions; (2) must be real or substantial distinctions that would justify different treatments in terms of the
germane to the purposes of the law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions computation of money claims resulting from illegal termination.
105
only; and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same class."
Overseas workers regardless of their classifications are entitled to security of tenure,
The reinstated clause does not satisfy the requirement of reasonable classification. at least for the period agreed upon in their contracts. This means that they cannot be
dismissed before the end of their contract terms without due process. If they were
illegally dismissed, the workers right to security of tenure is violated.
In Serrano, we identified the classifications made by the reinstated clause. It
distinguished between fixed-period overseas workers and fixedperiod local
106
workers. It also distinguished between overseas workers with employment The rights violated when, say, a fixed-period local worker is illegally terminated are
contracts of less than one year and overseas workers with employment contracts of neither greater than norless than the rights violated when a fixed-period overseas
107
at least one year. Within the class of overseas workers with at least one-year worker is illegally terminated. It is state policy to protect the rights of workers
119
employment contracts, there was a distinction between those with at least a year left withoutqualification as to the place of employment. In both cases, the workers are
in their contracts and those with less than a year left in their contracts when they were deprived of their expected salary, which they could have earned had they not been
illegally dismissed.
108 illegally dismissed. For both workers, this deprivation translates to economic
120
insecurity and disparity. The same is true for the distinctions between overseas
workers with an employment contract of less than one year and overseas workers
The Congress classification may be subjected to judicial review. In Serrano, there is with at least one year of employment contract, and between overseas workers with at
a "legislative classification which impermissibly interferes with the exercise of a least a year left in their contracts and overseas workers with less than a year left in
109
fundamental right or operates to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class." their contracts when they were illegally dismissed.
110
Under the Constitution, labor is afforded special protection. Thus, this court in For this reason, we cannot subscribe to the argument that "[overseas workers] are
Serrano, "[i]mbued with the same sense of obligation to afford protection to labor, . . . contractual employeeswho can never acquire regular employment status, unlike local
employ[ed] the standard of strict judicial scrutiny, for it perceive[d] in the subject 121
workers" because it already justifies differentiated treatment in terms ofthe
111
clause a suspect classification prejudicial to OFWs." computation of money claims.
122

We also noted in Serranothat before the passage of Republic Act No. 8042, the Likewise, the jurisdictional and enforcement issues on overseas workers money
money claims of illegally terminated overseas and local workers with fixed-term claims do not justify a differentiated treatment in the computation of their money
112
employment werecomputed in the same manner. Their money claims were 123
claims. If anything, these issues justify an equal, if not greater protection and
113
computed based onthe "unexpired portions of their contracts." The adoption of the assistance to overseas workers who generally are more prone to exploitation given
reinstated clause in Republic Act No. 8042 subjected the money claims of illegally their physical distance from our government.
dismissed overseas workers with an unexpired term of at least a year to a cap of
114
three months worth of their salary. There was no such limitation on the money
claims of illegally terminated local workers with fixed-term employment.
115 We also find that the classificationsare not relevant to the purpose of the law, which is
to "establish a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant
workers, their families and overseas Filipinos in distress, and for other
We observed that illegally dismissed overseas workers whose employment contracts 124
purposes." Further, we find specious the argument that reducing the liability of
had a term of less than one year were granted the amount equivalent to the placement agencies "redounds to the benefit of the [overseas] workers."
125
116
unexpired portion of their employment contracts. Meanwhile, illegally dismissed
overseas workers with employment terms of at least a year were granted a cap
equivalent to three months of their salary for the unexpired portions of their Putting a cap on the money claims of certain overseas workers does not increase the
contracts.
117 standard of protection afforded to them. On the other hand, foreign employers are
more incentivizedby the reinstated clause to enter into contracts of at least a year
because it gives them more flexibility to violate our overseas workers rights. Their protection no less than the Constitution commands. The idea thatprivate business
127
liability for arbitrarily terminating overseas workers is decreased at the expense of the interest can be elevated to the level of a compelling state interest is odious."
workers whose rights they violated. Meanwhile, these overseas workers who are
impressed with an expectation of a stable job overseas for the longer contract period Along the same line, we held that the reinstated clause violates due process rights. It
disregard other opportunities only to be terminated earlier. They are left with claims is arbitrary as it deprives overseas workers of their monetary claims without any
that are less than what others in the same situation would receive. The reinstated discernable valid purpose.
128
clause, therefore, creates a situation where the law meant to protect them makes
violation of rights easier and simply benign to the violator.
Respondent Joy Cabiles is entitled to her salary for the unexpired portion of her
contract, in accordance with Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042. The award of the
As Justice Brion said in his concurring opinion in Serrano: three-month equivalence of respondents salary must be modified accordingly. Since
she started working on June 26, 1997 and was terminated on July 14, 1997,
Section 10 of R.A. No. 8042 affects these well-laid rules and measures, and in fact respondent is entitled to her salary from July 15, 1997 to June 25, 1998. "To rule
provides a hidden twist affecting the principal/employers liability. While intended as otherwise would be iniquitous to petitioner and other OFWs, and would,in effect, send
an incentive accruing to recruitment/manning agencies, the law, as worded, simply a wrong signal that principals/employers and recruitment/manning agencies may
limits the OFWs recovery in wrongfuldismissal situations. Thus, it redounds to the violate an OFWs security of tenure which an employment contract embodies and
129
benefit of whoever may be liable, including the principal/employer the direct actually profit from such violation based on an unconstitutional provision of law."
employer primarily liable for the wrongful dismissal. In this sense, Section 10 read
as a grant of incentives to recruitment/manning agencies oversteps what it aims to III
do by effectively limiting what is otherwise the full liability of the foreign
principals/employers. Section 10, in short, really operates to benefit the wrong party
and allows that party, without justifiable reason, to mitigate its liability for wrongful On the interest rate, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 799 of June 21,
dismissals. Because of this hidden twist, the limitation ofliability under Section 10 2013, which revised the interest rate for loan or forbearance from 12% to 6% in the
cannot be an "appropriate" incentive, to borrow the term that R.A. No. 8042 itself uses absence of stipulation,applies in this case. The pertinent portions of Circular No. 799,
to describe the incentive it envisions under its purpose clause. Series of 2013, read: The Monetary Board, in its Resolution No. 796 dated 16 May
2013, approved the following revisions governing the rate of interest in the absence of
stipulation in loan contracts, thereby amending Section 2 of Circular No. 905, Series
What worsens the situation is the chosen mode of granting the incentive: instead of a of 1982:
grant that, to encourage greater efforts at recruitment, is directly related to extra
efforts undertaken, the law simply limits their liability for the wrongful dismissals of
already deployed OFWs. This is effectively a legally-imposed partial condonation of Section 1. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or
their liability to OFWs, justified solely by the laws intent to encourage greater credits and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of an express contract as to
deployment efforts. Thus, the incentive,from a more practical and realistic view, is such rateof interest, shall be six percent (6%) per annum.
really part of a scheme to sell Filipino overseas labor at a bargain for purposes solely
of attracting the market. . . . Section 2. In view of the above, Subsection X305.1 of the Manual of Regulations for
Banks and Sections 4305Q.1, 4305S.3 and 4303P.1 of the Manual of Regulations for
The so-called incentive is rendered particularly odious by its effect on the OFWs Non-Bank Financial Institutions are hereby amended accordingly.
the benefits accruing to the recruitment/manning agencies and their principals are
takenfrom the pockets of the OFWs to whom the full salaries for the unexpired portion This Circular shall take effect on 1 July 2013.
of the contract rightfully belong. Thus, the principals/employers and the
recruitment/manning agencies even profit from their violation of the security of tenure Through the able ponencia of Justice Diosdado Peralta, we laid down the guidelines
that an employment contract embodies. Conversely, lesser protection is afforded the in computing legal interest in Nacar v. Gallery Frames:
130
OFW, not only because of the lessened recovery afforded him or her by operation of
law, but also because this same lessened recovery renders a wrongful dismissal
easier and less onerous to undertake; the lesser cost of dismissing a Filipino will II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and
always bea consideration a foreign employer will take into account in termination of compensatory damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is
employment decisions. . . .
126 imposed, as follows:

Further, "[t]here can never be a justification for any form of government action that 1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum
alleviates the burden of one sector, but imposes the same burden on another sector, of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be
especially when the favored sector is composed of private businesses suchas that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due
placement agencies, while the disadvantaged sector is composed ofOFWs whose shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the
absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 6% per annum to be contracts between the placement agency and the overseasworker that in case the
computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and overseas worker is adjudged as entitled to reimbursement of his or her placement
subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. fees, the amount shall be subject to a 12% interest per annum. This implied
stipulation has the effect of removing awards for reimbursement of placement fees
2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is from Circular No. 799s coverage.
breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed
at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, The same cannot be said for awardsof salary for the unexpired portion of the
however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages, except employment contract under Republic Act No. 8042. These awards are covered by
when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Circular No. 799 because the law does not provide for a specific interest rate that
Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the should apply.
interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or
extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code), but when such certainty cannot be so In sum, if judgment did not become final and executory before July 1, 2013 and there
reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall was no stipulation in the contract providing for a different interest rate, other money
begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which claims under Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 shall be subject to the 6% interest
time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably per annum in accordance with Circular No. 799.
ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in
any case, be on the amount finally adjudged. 3. When the judgment of the
court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of This means that respondent is also entitled to an interest of 6% per annum on her
legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, money claims from the finality of this judgment.
above, shall be 6% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this
interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of IV
credit.
Finally, we clarify the liabilities ofWacoal as principal and petitioner as the
And, in addition to the above, judgments that have become final and executory prior employment agency that facilitated respondents overseas employment.
to July 1, 2013, shall not be disturbed and shall continue to be implemented applying
131
the rate of interest fixed therein. Section 10 of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 provides that
the foreign employer and the local employment agency are jointly and severally liable
Circular No. 799 is applicable only in loans and forbearance of money, goods, or for money claims including claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship
credits, and in judgments when there is no stipulation on the applicable interest rate. and/or damages. This section also provides that the performance bond filed by the
Further, it is only applicable if the judgment did not become final and executory before local agency shall be answerable for such money claims or damages if they were
132
July 1, 2013. awarded to the employee.

We add that Circular No. 799 is not applicable when there is a law that states This provision is in line with the states policy of affording protection to labor and
136
otherwise. While the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has the power to set or limit interest alleviating workers plight.
133
rates, these interest rates do not apply when the law provides that a different
interest rate shall be applied. "[A] Central Bank Circular cannot repeal a law. Only a In overseas employment, the filing of money claims against the foreign employer is
134
law can repeal another law." attended by practical and legal complications.1wphi1 The distance of the foreign
employer alonemakes it difficult for an overseas worker to reach it and make it liable
For example, Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 provides that unlawfully terminated for violations of the Labor Code. There are also possible conflict of laws, jurisdictional
overseas workers are entitled to the reimbursement of his or her placement fee with issues, and procedural rules that may be raised to frustrate an overseas
an interest of 12% per annum. Since Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas circulars workersattempt to advance his or her claims.
cannotrepeal Republic Act No. 8042, the issuance of Circular No. 799 does not have
the effect of changing the interest on awards for reimbursement of placement fees It may be argued, for instance, that the foreign employer must be impleaded in the
from 12% to 6%. This is despite Section 1 of Circular No. 799, which provides that the complaint as an indispensable party without which no final determination can be had
6% interest rate applies even to judgments. of an action.
137

Moreover, laws are deemed incorporated in contracts. "The contracting parties need The provision on joint and several liability in the Migrant Workers and Overseas
not repeat them. They do not even have to be referred to. Every contract, thus, Filipinos Act of 1995 assures overseas workers that their rights will not be frustrated
contains not only what has been explicitly stipulated, but the statutory provisions that with these complications. The fundamental effect of joint and several liability is that
135
have any bearing on the matter." There is, therefore, an implied stipulation in
138
"each of the debtors is liable for the entire obligation." A final determination may, have relatively little defense against exploitation while they are abroad, that
therefore, be achieved even if only oneof the joint and several debtors are impleaded disadvantage must not continue to burden them when they return to their own territory
in an action. Hence, in the case of overseas employment, either the local agency or to voice their muted complaint. There is no reason why, in their very own land, the
the foreign employer may be sued for all claims arising from the foreign employers protection of our own laws cannot be extended to them in full measure for the redress
142
labor law violations. This way, the overseas workers are assured that someone the of their grievances.
foreign employers local agent may be made to answer for violationsthat the
foreign employer may have committed. But it seems that we have not said enough.

The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 ensures that overseas We face a diaspora of Filipinos. Their travails and their heroism can be told a million
workers have recourse in law despite the circumstances of their employment. By times over; each of their stories as real as any other. Overseas Filipino workers brave
providing that the liability of the foreign employer may be "enforced to the full alien cultures and the heartbreak of families left behind daily. They would count the
139
extent" against the local agent,the overseas worker is assured of immediate and minutes, hours, days, months, and years yearning to see their sons and daughters.
140
sufficientpayment of what is due them. We all know of the joy and sadness when they come home to see them all grown up
and, being so, they remember what their work has cost them. Twitter accounts,
Corollary to the assurance of immediate recourse in law, the provision on joint and Facetime, and many other gadgets and online applications will never substitute for
several liability in the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 shifts the their lost physical presence.
burden of going after the foreign employer from the overseas worker to the local
employment agency. However, it must be emphasized that the local agency that is Unknown to them, they keep our economy afloat through the ebb and flow of political
held to answer for the overseas workers money claims is not leftwithout remedy. The and economic crises. They are our true diplomats, they who show the world the
law does not preclude it from going after the foreign employer for reimbursement of resilience, patience, and creativity of our people. Indeed, we are a people who
whatever payment it has made to the employee to answer for the money claims contribute much to the provision of material creations of this world.
against the foreign employer.
This government loses its soul if we fail to ensure decent treatment for all Filipinos.
A further implication of making localagencies jointly and severally liable with the We default by limiting the contractual wages that should be paid to our workers when
foreign employer is thatan additional layer of protection is afforded to overseas their contracts are breached by the foreign employers. While we sit, this court will
workers. Local agencies, which are businesses by nature, are inoculated with interest ensure that our laws will reward our overseas workers with what they deserve: their
in being always on the lookout against foreign employers that tend to violate labor dignity.
law. Lest they risk their reputation or finances, local agenciesmust already have
mechanisms for guarding against unscrupulous foreign employers even at the level
prior to overseas employment applications. Inevitably, their dignity is ours as weil.

With the present state of the pleadings, it is not possible to determine whether there WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals is
was indeed a transfer of obligations from petitioner to Pacific. This should not be an AFFIRMED with modification. Petitioner Sameer Overseas Placement Agency is
obstacle for the respondent overseas worker to proceed with the enforcement of this ORDERED to pay respondent Joy C. Cabiles the amount equivalent to her salary for
judgment. Petitioner is possessed with the resources to determine the proper legal the unexpired portion of her employment contract at an interest of 6% per annum
remedies to enforce its rights against Pacific, if any. from the finality of this judgment. Petitioner is also ORDERED to reimburse
respondent the withheld NT$3,000.00 salary and pay respondent attorney's fees of
NT$300.00 at an interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this judgment.
V
The clause, "or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is
Many times, this court has spoken on what Filipinos may encounter as they travel into less" in Section 7 of Republic Act No. 10022 amending Section 10 of Republic Act
the farthest and mostdifficult reaches of our planet to provide for their families. In No. 8042 is declared unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
141
Prieto v. NLRC:

SO ORDERED.
The Court is not unaware of the many abuses suffered by our overseas workers in
the foreign land where they have ventured, usually with heavy hearts, in pursuit of a
more fulfilling future. Breach of contract, maltreatment, rape, insufficient nourishment,
sub-human lodgings, insults and other forms of debasement, are only a few of the
inhumane acts towhich they are subjected by their foreign employers, who probably
feel they can do as they please in their own country. Whilethese workers may indeed
DIGEST: HELD:

YES. The Court held that the award of the three-month equivalent of
SAMEER OVERSEAS PLACEMENT AGENCY, INC., Petitioner, respondents salary should be increased to the amount equivalent to the unexpired
term of the employment contract.
vs.
In Serrano v. Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and Marlow Navigation Co.,
JOY C. CABILES, Respondent. Inc., this court ruled that the clause or for three (3) months for every year of the
unexpired term, whichever is less is unconstitutional for violating the equal protection
G.R. No. 170139 August 5, 2014 clause and substantive due process.

PONENTE: Leonen A statute or provision which was declared unconstitutional is not a law. It
confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it
is inoperative as if it has not been passed at all.
TOPIC: Section 10 of RA 8042 vis-a-vis Section 7 of RA 10022
The Court said that they are aware that the clause or for three (3) months
FACTS: for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less was reinstated in
Republic Act No. 8042 upon promulgation of Republic Act No. 10022 in 2010.
Petitioner, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc., is a recruitment and
placement agency. Ruling on the constitutional issue

Respondent Joy Cabiles was hired thus signed a one-year employment In the hierarchy of laws, the Constitution is supreme. No branch or office of
contract for a monthly salary of NT$15,360.00. Joy was deployed to work for Taiwan the government may exercise its powers in any manner inconsistent with the
Wacoal, Co. Ltd. (Wacoal) on June 26, 1997. She alleged that in her employment Constitution, regardless of the existence of any law that supports such exercise. The
contract, she agreed to work as quality control for one year. In Taiwan, she was Constitution cannot be trumped by any other law. All laws must be read in light of the
asked to work as a cutter. Constitution. Any law that is inconsistent with it is a nullity.

Sameer claims that on July 14, 1997, a certain Mr. Huwang from Wacoal Thus, when a law or a provision of law is null because it is
informed Joy, without prior notice, that she was terminated and that she should inconsistent with the Constitution, the nullity cannot be cured by
immediately report to their office to get her salary and passport. She was asked to reincorporation or reenactment of the same or a similar law or provision. A law
prepare for immediate repatriation. Joy claims that she was told that from June 26 to or provision of law that was already declared unconstitutional remains as such unless
July 14, 1997, she only earned a total of NT$9,000.15 According to her, Wacoal circumstances have so changed as to warrant a reverse conclusion.
deducted NT$3,000 to cover her plane ticket to Manila.
The Court observed that the reinstated clause, this time as provided in
On October 15, 1997, Joy filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Republic Act. No. 10022, violates the constitutional rights to equal protection and due
NLRC against petitioner and Wacoal. LA dismissed the complaint. NLRC reversed process.96 Petitioner as well as the Solicitor General have failed to show any
LAs decision. CA affirmed the ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission compelling change in the circumstances that would warrant us to revisit the
finding respondent illegally dismissed and awarding her three months worth of salary, precedent.
the reimbursement of the cost of her repatriation, and attorneys fees
The Court declared, once again, the clause, or for three (3) months for
ISSUE: every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less in Section 7 of Republic Act No.
10022 amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042 is declared unconstitutional
Whether or not Cabiles was entitled to the unexpired portion of her salary and, therefore, null and void.
due to illegal dismissal.
G.R. No. 141221-36 March 7, 2002 again scheduled on January 5, 1993, but it still did not push through. Narcisa stated
that they went to Manila several times supposedly to obtain a visa from the Austrian
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Embassy and Karl Reichl assured her that she would be able to leave once she gets
vs. her visa. The accused set the departure of Narcisa and that of the other applicants
FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ (at large), KARL REICHL, and YOLANDA GUTIERREZ several times but these proved to be empty promises. In March 1993, the applicants
DE REICHL, accused, met with the three accused at the residence of private complainant Charito Balmes
KARL REICHL and YOLANDA GUTIERREZ DE REICHL, accused-appellants and asked them to refund the payment if they could not send them abroad. The
meeting resulted in an agreement which was reduced into writing and signed by Karl
Reichl. Mr. Reichl promised to ensure private complainants' departure by April,
PUNO, J.: otherwise, they would return their payment.
6

This is an appeal from the Joint Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Batangas City in Private complainant Leonora Perez also gave the following testimony: In July 1992,
Criminal Case Nos. 6428, 6429, 6430, 6431, 6432, 6433, 6434, 6435, 6436, 6437, her sister, Analiza Perez, introduced her to Francisco Hernandez at their residence in
6438, 6439, 6528, 6529, 6530 and 6531 finding accused-appellants, Spouses Karl Dolor Subdivision, Batangas City. Francisco Hernandez convinced her to apply for a
Reichl and Yolanda Gutierrez de Reichl guilty of five (5) counts of estafa and one (1) job in Italy. When she accepted the offer, Francisco Hernandez told her to
1
count of syndicated and large scale illegal recruitment. prepare P150,000.00 for the processing of her papers. In August 1992, Leonora,
together with her sister and Francisco Hernandez, went to Ramada Hotel in Manila to
In April 1993, eight (8) informations for syndicated and large scale illegal recruitment meet with Karl and Yolanda Reichl. At said meeting, Leonora handed her payment
and eight (8) informations for estafa were filed against accused-appellants, spouses of P50,000.00 to Yolanda Reichl. Yolanda assured her that she would be able to work
Karl and Yolanda Reichl, together with Francisco Hernandez. Only the Reichl in Italy. Francisco Hernandez and the Reichl spouses told Leonora to wait for about
spouses were tried and convicted by the trial court as Francisco Hernandez remained three weeks before she could leave. After three weeks, Francisco Hernandez invited
at large.1wphi1.nt Leonora and the other applicants to the house of Hilarion Matira in Batangas City to
discuss some matters. Francisco Hernandez informed the applicants that their
The evidence for the prosecution consisted of the testimonies of private departure would be postponed to December 17, 1992. December 17 came and the
complainants; a certification from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration applicants were still unable to leave as it was allegedly a holiday. Yolanda and Karl
(POEA) that Francisco Hernandez, Karl Reichl and Yolanda Gutierrez Reichl in their Reichl nonetheless assured Leonora of employment as domestic helper in Italy with a
personal capacities were neither licensed nor authorized by the POEA to recruit monthly salary of $1,000.00. Francisco Hernandez and the Reichl spouses promised
2
workers for overseas employment; the receipts for the payment made by private the applicants that they would leave for Italy on January 5, 1993. Some time in
complainants; and two documents signed by the Reichl spouses where they admitted January 1993, Francisco Hernandez went to the residence of Leonora and collected
that they promised to secure Austrian tourist visas for private complainants and that the sum of P50,000.00 purportedly for the plane fare. Francisco issued a receipt for
they would return all the expenses incurred by them if they are not able to leave by the payment. When the applicants were not able to leave on the designated date,
3
March 24, 1993, and where Karl Reichl pledged to refund to private complainants the Francisco Hernandez and the spouses again made another promise. Tired of the
total sum of P1,388,924.00 representing the amounts they paid for the processing of recruiters' unfulfilled promises, the applicants decided to withdraw their application.
their papers.
4 However, Karl Reichl constantly assured them that they would land a job in Italy
because he had connections in Vienna. The promised employment, however, never
materialized. Thus, Karl Reichl signed a document stating that he would refund the
Private complainant Narcisa Hernandez, a teacher, was first to testify for the payment made by the applicants plus interest and other expenses. The document
prosecution. She stated that Francisco Hernandez introduced her to the spouses Karl was executed and signed at the house of one of the applicants, Charito Balmes, at P.
and Yolanda Reichl at the residence of a certain Hilarion Matira at Kumintang Ibaba, Zamora St., Batangas City.
7

Batangas City. At the time, she also saw the other applicants Melanie Bautista, Estela
Manalo, Edwin Coleng, Anicel Umahon, Analiza Perez and Maricel Matira. Karl and
Yolanda Reichl told Narcisa that they could find her a job as domestic helper in Italy. Janet Perez, Leonora's sister, corroborated the latter's testimony that she paid a total
8
They, however, required her to pay the amount of P150,000.00 for the processing of amount of P100,000.00 to the three accused.
her papers and travel documents. She paid the fee in three installments. She paid the
first installment of P50,000.00 on July 14, 1992, the second installment of P25,000.00 Private complainant Charito Balmes told a similar story when she testified before the
on August 6, 1992 and the third in the amount of P75,000.00 on December 27, 1992. court. She said that Francisco Hernandez convinced her to apply for the job of
She gave the money to Francisco Hernandez in the presence of the Reichl spouses domestic helper in Italy and required her to pay a fee of P150,000.00. He also asked
at Matira's residence. Francisco Hernandez issued a receipt for the first and second her to prepare her passport and other papers to be used to secure a visa. On
5
installment but not for the third. Narcisa was scheduled to leave on December 17, November 25, 1992, she gave P25,000.00 to Francisco Hernandez. They proceeded
1992 but was not able to do so. Karl Reichl explained that she would get her transit to Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City and Francisco Hernandez introduced her to his
visa to Italy in Austria, but she could not yet leave for Austria because the hotels were business partners, spouses Karl and Yolanda Reichl. Francisco Hernandez turned
fully booked at that time because of the Christmas season. Narcisa's departure was over the payment to the spouses so that they could secure a visa for her. The Reichl
spouses promised her an overseas job. They said she and the other applicants would Mr. Reichl stated that he first met Francisco Hernandez through a certain Jimmy
leave on December 17, 1992. On December 11, 1992, Charito paid the amount Pineda around August 1992 at Manila Midtown Hotel. Francisco Hernandez was
of P70,300.00 to Francisco Hernandez in the presence of the Reichls. Francisco allegedly looking for a European equipment to be used for the quarrying operation of
Hernandez again handed the money to the spouses. On February 16, 1993, Charito his friend. Before accepting the deal, he made some research on the background of
paid P20,000.00 to Francisco Hernandez who delivered the same to the spouses. the intended business. Realizing that said business would not be viable, Karl Reichl
Francisco Hernandez did not issue a receipt for the payment made by Charito advised Francisco Hernandez to instead look for a second-hand equipment from
because he told her that he would not betray her trust. Like the other applicants, Taiwan or Japan. He never saw Francisco Hernandez again until he left for Vienna in
17
Charito was not able to leave the country despite the numerous promises made by September 1992.
the accused. They gave various excuses for their failure to depart, until finally the
Reichls told the applicants that Karl Reichl had so many business transactions in the Karl Reichl returned to the Philippines on October 21, 1992. Francisco Hernandez
Philippines that they would not be able to send them abroad and that they would allegedly approached him and sought his help in securing Austrian visas purportedly
refund their payment instead. Hence, they executed an agreement which was signed for his relatives. Karl Reichl refused and told him that he was planning to stay
by Karl Reichl and stating that they would return the amounts paid by the applicants. permanently in the Philippines. On one occasion, Francisco Hernandez invited him to
9
The accused, however, did not comply with their obligation. an excursion at Sombrero Island. Francisco Hernandez told him that he would also
bring some of his relatives with him and he would introduce him to them. There he
Mrs. Elemenita Bautista, the mother of private complainant Melanie Bautista, also met Narcisa Hernandez and Leonora Perez. Leonora Perez, together with Francisco
took the witness stand. She stated that in May 1992, Melanie applied for an overseas Hernandez, later went to see Mr. Reichl at the house of his in-laws at No. 4 Buenafe
job through Francisco Hernandez. Francisco Hernandez told her to Road, Batangas City and asked him if he could help her obtain an Austrian visa. Karl
18
prepare P150,000.00 to be used for the processing of her papers and plane ticket. On Reichl, however, was firm on his refusal.
June 26, 1992, Melanie made the initial payment of P50,000.00 to Francisco
10
Hernandez who was then accompanied by Karl and Yolanda Reichl. Upon receipt of In his testimony before the trial court, Karl Reichl denied any knowledge about
the payment, Francisco Hernandez gave the money to Yolanda Reichl. Melanie made Francisco Hernandez's recruitment activities. He said that Francisco Hernandez
11
two other payments: one on August 6, 1992 in the amount of P25,000.00, and merely told him that he wanted to help his relatives go to Europe. He further denied
12
another on January 3, 1993 in the amount of P51,000.00. Three receipts were that he promised private complainants that he would give them overseas
13
issued for the payments. 19
employment. As regards the document where Mr. Reichl undertook to
pay P1,388,924.00 to private complainants, he claimed that he signed said document
Rustico Manalo, the husband of private complainant Estela Abel de Manalo, testified under duress. Francisco Hernandez allegedly told him that private complainants
that his wife applied for the job of domestic helper abroad. In June 1992, Francisco would harm him and his family if he refused to sign it. He signed the document as he
20
Hernandez introduced them to Karl and Yolanda Reichl who were allegedly sending felt he had no other option.
workers to Italy. Rustico and his wife prepared all the relevant documents, i.e.,
passport, police clearance and marriage contract, and paid a total placement fee Yolanda Gutierrez de Reichl corroborated the testimony of her husband and denied
14
of P130,000.00. They paid P50,000.00 on June 5, 1992, P25,000.00 on August 8, the charges against her. She claimed that she was in Manila on the dates alleged in
1992, and P55,000.00 on January 3, 1993. The payments were made at the house of the various informations, thus, she could not have committed the acts charged
Hilarion Matira and were received by Francisco Hernandez who, in turn, remitted therein. Yolanda Reichl further stated that she did not know of any reason why private
them to the Reichl spouses. Francisco Hernandez issued a receipt for the payment. complainants filed these cases against her and her husband. She said that several
The Reichls promised to take care of Estela's papers and to secure a job for her persons were harassing her and pressuring her to pay private complainants the sum
abroad. The Reichls vowed to return the payment if they fail on their promise. As with of at least P50,000.00.
21
15
the other applicants, Estela was also not able to leave the country.
After assessing the evidence presented by the parties, the trial court rendered a
The defense interposed denial and alibi. decision convicting accused-appellants of one (1) count of illegal recruitment in large
scale and six (6) counts of estafa. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
Accused-appellant Karl Reichl, an Austrian citizen, claimed that he entered the
Philippines on July 29, 1992. Prior to this date, he was in various places in Europe. "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused spouses
He came to the country on July 29, 1992 to explore business opportunities in KARL REICHL and YOLANDA GUTIERREZ REICHL -
connection with the import and export of beer and sugar. He also planned to establish
a tourist spot somewhere in Batangas. Upon his arrival, he and his wife, Yolanda
Reichl, stayed at the Manila Intercontinental Hotel. On August 3, 1992, they moved to 1. NOT GUILTY of the crime of syndicated and large-scale illegal
Manila Midtown Hotel. They stayed there until August 26, 1992. After they left Manila recruitment as charged in the above-mentioned Criminal Cases
Midtown Hotel, they went to another hotel in Quezon City. Karl Reichl returned to Nos. 6435, 6437 and 6529;
16
Vienna on September 19, 1992.
2. NOT GUILTY of the crime of estafa as charged in the above- 7. To pay the costs.
mentioned Criminal Cases Nos. 6434, 6436 and 6528;
SO ORDERED."
3. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of syndicated and
large-scale illegal recruitment, as charged, in the above-mentioned Accused-appellants appealed from the decision of the trial court. They raise the
Criminal Cases Nos. 6429, 6431, 6433, 6439 and 6531; following errors:

4. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa, as "1. The trial court erred in finding accused-appellant Karl Reichl guilty of the
charged, in the above-mentioned Criminal Cases Nos. 6428, 6430, crimes of estafa and illegal recruitment committed by syndicate and in large
6432, 6438 and 6530. scale based on the evidence presented by the prosecution which miserably
failed to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court hereby imposes upon the accused-spouses KARL REICHL and YOLANDA
GUTIERREZ REICHL the following sentences: 2. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of
illegal recruitment on a large scale by cummulating five separate cases of
1. For the 5 offenses, collectively, of syndicated and large-scale illegal illegal recruitment each filed by a single private complainant.
recruitment in Criminal Cases Nos. 6429, 6431, 6433, 6438 and 6531, to
suffer the penalty of life imprisonment, and to pay a fine of One Hundred 3. The trial court erred in rendering as a matter of course an automatic guilty
Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00); verdict against accused-appellant for the crime of estafa after a guilty verdict
in a separate crime for illegal recruitment. It is submitted that conviction in
22
2. In Criminal Case No. 6428, there being no mitigating or aggravating the latter crime does not ipso facto result in conviction in the former."
circumstance, to suffer the indeterminate sentence of Six (6) Years of prision
correctional, as minimum to Sixteen (16) Years of reclusion temporal, as The appeal is bereft of merit.
maximum, and to indemnify the complainant Narcisa Hernandez in the
amount of P150,000.00;
Article 38 of the Labor Code defines illegal recruitment as "any recruitment activities,
including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of (the Labor Code), to
3. In Criminal Case No. 6430, there being no mitigating or aggravating be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority." The term "recruitment
circumstance, to suffer the indeterminate sentence of six (6) years of prision and placement" refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting,
correctional as minimum to eleven (11) years of prision mayor, as maximum utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, including referrals, contract services, promising
and to indemnify the complainant Leonora Perez in the amount or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not, provided
of P100,000.00; that any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee
employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and
23
4. In Criminal Case No. 6432, there being no mitigating or aggravating placement. The law imposes a higher penalty when the illegal recruitment is
circumstance, to suffer the indeterminate sentence of six (6) years of prision committed by a syndicate or in large scale as they are considered an offense
correctional as minimum to sixteen (16) years of reclusion temporal, as involving economic sabotage. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate
maximum and to indemnify the complainant Melanie Bautista in the amount if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring and/or confederating
of P150,000.00; with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal transaction, enterprise or
scheme. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more
24
5. In Criminal Case No. 6438, there being no mitigating or aggravating persons individually or as a group.
circumstance, to suffer the indeterminate sentence of six (6) years of prision
correctional as minimum to fourteen (14) years of reclusion temporal as In the case at bar, the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that
maximum and to indemnify the complainant Estela Abel de Manalo in the accused-appellants engaged in activities that fall within the definition of recruitment
amount of P130,000.00; and placement under the Labor Code. The evidence on record shows that they
promised overseas employment to private complainants and required them to prepare
6. In Criminal Case No. 6530, there being no mitigating or aggravating the necessary documents and to pay the placement fee, although they did not have
circumstance, to suffer the indeterminate sentence of six (6) years or prision any license to do so. There is illegal recruitment when one who does not possess the
correctional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as necessary authority or license gives the impression of having the ability to send a
25
maximum and to indemnify the complainant Charito Balmes in the amount worker abroad.
of P121,300.00; and
Accused-appellants assert that they merely undertook to secure Austrian visas for assurances to private complainants that they would seek employment for them in
private complainants, which act did not constitute illegal recruitment. They cite the Italy. Francisco Hernandez remitted the payments given by the applicants to the
document marked at Exhibit "J" stating that they promised to obtain Austrian tourist Reichl spouses and the latter undertook to process the applicants' papers. There
visas for private complainants. We are not convinced. Private complainants Narcisa being conspiracy, each of the accused shall be equally liable for the acts of his co-
Hernandez, Leonora Perez and Charito Balmes categorically stated that Karl and accused even if he himself did not personally take part in its execution.
Yolanda Reichl told them that they would provide them overseas employment and
promised them that they would be able to leave the country on a specified date. We Accused-appellants argue that the trial court erred in convicting accused-appellants of
do not see any reason to doubt the truthfulness of their testimony. The defense has illegal recruitment in large scale by cummulating the individual informations filed by
not shown any ill motive for these witnesses to falsely testify against accused- private complainants. The eight informations for illegal recruitment are worded as
appellants if it were not true that they met with the Reichl spouses and the latter follows:
represented themselves to have the capacity to secure gainful employment for them
abroad. The minor lapses in the testimony of these witnesses pointed out by
accused-appellants in their brief do not impair their credibility, especially since they Criminal Case No. 6429
corroborate each other on the material points, i.e., that they met with the three
accused several times, that the three accused promised to give them overseas "That on or about July 14, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto
employment, and that they paid the corresponding placement fee but were not able to at Hilltop, Brgy. Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, Philippines and within the
leave the country. It has been held that truth-telling witnesses are not always jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
expected to give error-free testimonies considering the lapse of time and the well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department
26
treachery of human memory. Moreover, it was shown that Karl Reichl signed a of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity,
document marked as Exhibit "C" where he promised to refund the payments given by conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
private complainants for the processing of their papers. We are not inclined to believe and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and
Mr. Reichl's claim that he was forced by Francisco Hernandez to sign said document. placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and
There is no showing, whether in his testimony or in that of his wife, that private promising for a fee to one Narcisa Autor de Hernandez and to more than
complainants threatened to harm them if he did not sign the document. Mr. Reichl is three other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Narcisa
an educated man and it cannot be said that he did not understand the contents of the Autor de Hernandez relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave
paper he was signing. When he affixed his signature thereon, he in effect the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND (P150,000.00) PESOS,
acknowledged his obligation to ensure the departure of private complainants and to Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a violation of the
provide them gainful employment abroad. Such obligation arose from the promise of said law.
overseas placement made by him and his co-accused to private complainants. The
admission made by accused-appellants in Exhibit "J" that they promised to obtain Contrary to Law."
Austrian visas for private complainants does not negate the fact that they also
promised to procure for them overseas employment. In fact, in Exhibit "J", accused-
appellants admitted that each of the private complainants paid the amount Criminal Case No. 6431
of P50,000.00. However, in Exhibit "C", which was executed on a later date, accused-
appellants promised to refund to each complainant an amount "That on or about July 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto at
exceeding P150,000.00. This is an acknowledgment that accused-appellants Dolor Subdivision, Batangas City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
received payments from the complainants not only for securing visas but also for their this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully well that they
placement abroad. are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department of Labor and
Employment or any other authorized government entity, conspiring and
Accused-appellants' defense of denial and alibi fail to impress us. The acts of confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
recruitment were committed from June 1992 until January 1993 in Batangas City. Karl feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and placement
Reichl was in Manila from July 29, 1992 until September 19, 1992, and then he activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and promising for a fee
returned to the Philippines and stayed in Batangas from October 21, 1992. Yolanda to one Leonora Perez y Atienza and to more than three other persons, job
Reichl, on the other hand, claimed that he was in Manila on the dates alleged in the placement abroad, by reason of which said Leonora Perez y Atienza relying
various informations. It is of judicial notice that Batangas City is only a few hours' on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave the amount of ONE
drive from Manila. Thus, even if the spouses were staying in Manila, it does not HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, to said
prevent them from going to Batangas to engage in their recruitment business. accused, which acts constitute a violation of the said law.
Furthermore, it appears that the three accused worked as a team and they conspired
and cooperated with each other in recruiting domestic helpers purportedly to be sent Contrary to Law."
to Italy. Francisco Hernandez introduced Karl and Yolanda Reichl to the job
applicants as his business partners. Karl and Yolanda Reichl themselves gave
Criminal Case No. 6433
"That on or about June 26, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto PESOS, Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a
at Hilltop, Brgy. Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, Philippines and within the violation of the said law.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department Contrary to Law."
of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity,
conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and Criminal Case No. 6439
placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and
promising for a fee to one Melanie Bautista y Dolor and to more than three "That on or about June 5, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto
other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Melanie at Hilltop, Brgy. Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, Philippines and within the
Bautista y Dolor relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND (P150,000.00) PESOS, well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department
Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a violation of the of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity,
said law.1wphi1.nt conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and
Contrary to Law." placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and
promising for a fee to one Estela Abel de Manalo and to more than three
other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Estela Abel
Criminal Case No. 6435 de Manalo relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave the
amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND (P130,000.00) PESOS,
"That on or about July 12, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a violation of the
at Hilltop, Brgy. Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, Philippines and within the said law.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department Contrary to Law."
of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity,
conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and Criminal Case No. 6529
placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and
promising for a fee to one Annaliza Perez y Atienza and to more than three "That on or about July 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent thereto at
other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Annaliza Brgy. Sta. Rita Karsada, Batangas City, Philippines and within the
Perez y Atienza relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
amount of ONE HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND (P160,000.00) PESOS, well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department
Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a violation of the of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity,
said law. conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and
Contrary to Law. placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and
promising for a fee to one Anicel Umahon y Delgado and to more than three
other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Anicel
Criminal Case No. 6437 Umahon y Delgado relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave
the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND (P130,000.00)
"That on or about August 15, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent PESOS, Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts constitute a
thereto at Hilltop, Brgy. Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City, Philippines and violation of the said law.
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
knowing fully well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from Contrary to Law."
the Department of Labor and Employment or any other authorized
government entity, conspiring and confederating together, did then and
there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously engage in syndicated and large Criminal Case No. 6531
scale recruitment and placement activities by enlisting, contracting,
procuring, offering and promising for a fee to one Edwin Coling y Coling and "That on or about November 25, 1992 and sometime prior and subsequent
to more than three other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which thereto at No. 40 P. Zamora Street, Batangas City, Philippines and within the
said Edwin Coling y Coling relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing fully
gave the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND (P150,000.00) well that they are non-licensees nor holders of authority from the Department
29
of Labor and Employment or any other authorized government entity, appellant and as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damages. It has been
conspiring and confederating together, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully proved in this case that accused-appellants represented themselves to private
and feloniously engage in syndicated and large scale recruitment and complainants to have the capacity to send domestic helpers to Italy, although they did
placement activities by enlisting, contracting, procuring, offering and not have any authority or license. It is by this representation that they induced private
promising for a fee to one Charito Balmes y Cantos and to more than three complainants to pay a placement fee of P150,000.00. Such act clearly constitutes
other persons, job placement abroad, by reason of which said Charito estafa under Article 315 (2) of the Revised Penal Code.
Balmes y Cantos relying on these misrepresentations, paid and/or gave the
amount of ONE HUNDRED TWENTY ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED IN VIEW WHEREOF, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision appealed from is
PESOS (P121,300.00), Philippine Currency, to said accused, which acts hereby AFFIRMED.
constitute a violation of the said law.
Cost against appellants.
Contrary to Law."
SO ORDERED.
We note that each information was filed by only one complainant. We agree with
accused-appellants that they could not be convicted for illegal recruitment committed
in large scale based on several informations filed by only one complainant. The Court
27
held in People vs. Reyes:

"x x x When the Labor Code speaks of illegal recruitment 'committed against
three (3) or more persons individually or as a group,' it must be understood
as referring to the number of complainants in each case who are
complainants therein, otherwise, prosecutions for single crimes of illegal
recruitment can be cummulated to make out a case of large scale illegal
recruitment. In other words, a conviction for large scale illegal recruitment
must be based on a finding in each case of illegal recruitment of three or
28
more persons whether individually or as a group."

This, however, does not serve to lower the penalty imposed upon accused-
appellants. The charge was not only for illegal recruitment committed in large scale
but also for illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate. Illegal recruitment is deemed
committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons
conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any unlawful or
illegal transaction, enterprise or scheme defined under the first paragraph of Article
38 of the Labor Code. It has been shown that Karl Reichl, Yolanda Reichl and
Francisco Hernandez conspired with each other in convincing private complainants to
apply for an overseas job and giving them the guaranty that they would be hired as
domestic helpers in Italy although they were not licensed to do so. Thus, we hold that
accused-appellants should be held liable for illegal recruitment committed by a
syndicate which is also punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of one hundred
thousand pesos (P100,000.00) under Article 39 of the Labor Code.

Finally, we hold that the prosecution also proved the guilt of accused-appellants for
the crime of estafa. A person who is convicted of illegal recruitment may, in addition,
be convicted of estafa under Art. 315 (2) of the Revised Penal Code provided the
elements of estafa are present. Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2 of the Revised
Penal Code is committed by any person who defrauds another by using a fictitious
name, or falsely pretends to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit,
agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of similar deceits executed
prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. The offended party must
have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means of the accused-
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, treachery of human memory. Moreover, it was shown that Karl Reichl signed a
vs. document marked as Exhibit "C" where he promised to refund the payments given by
FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ (at large), KARL REICHL, and YOLANDA GUTIERREZ private complainants for the processing of their papers. We are not inclined to believe
DE REICHL, accused, Mr. Reichl's claim that he was forced by Francisco Hernandez to sign said document.
KARL REICHL and YOLANDA GUTIERREZ DE REICHL, accused-appellants There is no showing, whether in his testimony or in that of his wife, that private
complainants threatened to harm them if he did not sign the document. Mr. Reichl is
PUNO, J.: an educated man and it cannot be said that he did not understand the contents of the
paper he was signing. When he affixed his signature thereon, he in effect
acknowledged his obligation to ensure the departure of private complainants and to
FACTS: provide them gainful employment abroad. Such obligation arose from the promise of
overseas placement made by him and his co-accused to private complainants. The
In April 1993, eight (8) informations for syndicated and large scale illegal admission made by accused-appellants in Exhibit "J" that they promised to obtain
recruitment and eight (8) informations for estafa were filed against accused- Austrian visas for private complainants does not negate the fact that they also
appellants, spouses Karl and Yolanda Reichl, together with Francisco Hernandez. promised to procure for them overseas employment. In fact, in Exhibit "J", accused-
Only the Reichl spouses were tried and convicted by the trial court as Francisco appellants admitted that each of the private complainants paid the amount
Hernandez remained at large.1wphi1.nt of P50,000.00. However, in Exhibit "C", which was executed on a later date, accused-
appellants promised to refund to each complainant an amount
ISSUE: exceeding P150,000.00. This is an acknowledgment that accused-appellants
received payments from the complainants not only for securing visas but also for their
placement abroad.
Whether or not the respondents are guilty of illegal recruitment.
Accused-appellants' defense of denial and alibi fail to impress us. The acts of
HELD: recruitment were committed from June 1992 until January 1993 in Batangas City. Karl
Reichl was in Manila from July 29, 1992 until September 19, 1992, and then he
In the case at bar, the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable returned to the Philippines and stayed in Batangas from October 21, 1992. Yolanda
doubt that accused-appellants engaged in activities that fall within the definition of Reichl, on the other hand, claimed that he was in Manila on the dates alleged in the
recruitment and placement under the Labor Code. The evidence on record shows that various informations. It is of judicial notice that Batangas City is only a few hours'
they promised overseas employment to private complainants and required them to drive from Manila. Thus, even if the spouses were staying in Manila, it does not
prepare the necessary documents and to pay the placement fee, although they did prevent them from going to Batangas to engage in their recruitment business.
not have any license to do so. There is illegal recruitment when one who does not Furthermore, it appears that the three accused worked as a team and they conspired
possess the necessary authority or license gives the impression of having the ability and cooperated with each other in recruiting domestic helpers purportedly to be sent
to send a worker abroad. to Italy. Francisco Hernandez introduced Karl and Yolanda Reichl to the job
applicants as his business partners. Karl and Yolanda Reichl themselves gave
assurances to private complainants that they would seek employment for them in
Accused-appellants assert that they merely undertook to secure Austrian
Italy. Francisco Hernandez remitted the payments given by the applicants to the
visas for private complainants, which act did not constitute illegal recruitment. They
Reichl spouses and the latter undertook to process the applicants' papers. There
cite the document marked at Exhibit "J" stating that they promised to obtain Austrian
being conspiracy, each of the accused shall be equally liable for the acts of his co-
tourist visas for private complainants. We are not convinced. Private complainants
accused even if he himself did not personally take part in its execution.
Narcisa Hernandez, Leonora Perez and Charito Balmes categorically stated that Karl
and Yolanda Reichl told them that they would provide them overseas employment
and promised them that they would be able to leave the country on a specified date.
We do not see any reason to doubt the truthfulness of their testimony. The defense
has not shown any ill motive for these witnesses to falsely testify against accused-
appellants if it were not true that they met with the Reichl spouses and the latter
represented themselves to have the capacity to secure gainful employment for them
abroad. The minor lapses in the testimony of these witnesses pointed out by
accused-appellants in their brief do not impair their credibility, especially since they
corroborate each other on the material points, i.e., that they met with the three
accused several times, that the three accused promised to give them overseas
employment, and that they paid the corresponding placement fee but were not able to
leave the country. It has been held that truth-telling witnesses are not always
expected to give error-free testimonies considering the lapse of time and the