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THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee vs. CAROL M. DELA PIEDRA, accused-appellant G.R. No.

121777 (350 SCRA 163) January 24, 2001 KAPUNAN, J. FACTS: On the afternoon of January 30, 1994, Maria Lourdes Modesto and Nancy Araneta together with her friends Jennelyn Baez, and Sandra Aquino went to the house of Jasmine Alejandro, after having learned that a woman is there to recruit job applicants for Singapore. Carol dela Piedra was already briefing some people when they arrived. Jasmine, on the other hand, welcomed and asked them to sit down. They listened to the recruiter who was then talking about the breakdown of the fees involved: P30,000 for the visa and the round trip ticket, and P5,000 as placement fee and for the processing of the papers. The initial payment was P2,000, while P30,000 will be by salary deduction. The recruiter said that she was recruiting nurses for Singapore. Araneta, her friends and Lourdes then filled up bio-data forms and were required to submit pictures and a transcript of records. After the interview, Lourdes gave the initial payment of P2,000 to Jasmine, who assured her that she was authorized to receive the money. Meanwhile, in the morning of the said date, Erlie Ramos, Attorney II of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), received a telephone call from an unidentified woman inquiring about the legitimacy of the recruitment conducted by a certain Mrs. Carol Figueroa. Ramos, whose duties include the surveillance of suspected illegal recruiters, immediately contacted a friend, a certain Mayeth Bellotindos, so they could both go the place where the recruitment was reportedly being undertaken. Upon arriving at the reported area at around 4:00 p.m., Bellotindos entered the house and pretended to be an applicant. Ramos remained outside and stood on the pavement, from where he was able to see around six (6) persons in the sala. Ramos even heard a woman, identified as Carol Figueroa, talk about the possible employment she has to provide in Singapore and the documents that the applicants have to comply with. Fifteen (15) minutes later, Bellotindos came out with a bio-data form in hand. Thereafter, Ramos conferred with a certain Capt. Mendoza of the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) to organize the arrest of the alleged illegal recruiter. A surveillance team was then organized to confirm the report. After which, a raid was executed. Consequently, Carol was charged and convicted by the trial court of illegal recruitment.

Upon appeal, accused questions her conviction for illegal recruitment in large scale and assails, as well, the constitutionality of the law defining and penalizing said crime. First, accused submits that Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defining recruitment and placement is void for vagueness and, thus, violates the due process clause. The provision in question reads: ART. 13. Definitions.(a) x x x. (b)Recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally 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 deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. ISSUES: (1) Whether or not sec. 13 (b) of P.D. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the illegal recruitment law is unconstitutional as it violates the due process clause. (2) Whether or not accused was denied equal protection and therefore should be exculpated HELD: (1) For the First issue, dela Piedra submits that Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defining recruitment and placement is void for vagueness and, thus, violates the due process clause. Due process requires that the terms of a penal statute must be sufficiently explicit to inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties. In support of her submission, dela Piedra invokes People vs. Panis, where the Supreme Court criticized the definition of recruitment and placement. The Court ruled, however, that her reliance on the said case was misplaced. The issue in Panis was whether, under the proviso of Article 13 (b), the crime of illegal recruitment could be committed only whenever two or more persons are in any manner promised or offered any employment for a fee. In this case, the Court merely bemoaned the lack of records that would help shed light on the meaning of the proviso. The absence of such records notwithstanding, the Court was able to arrive at a reasonable interpretation of the proviso by applying principles in criminal law and drawing from the language and intent of the law itself. Section 13 (b), therefore, is not a perfectly vague act whose obscurity is evident on its face. If at all, the proviso therein is merely couched in imprecise language that was

salvaged by proper construction. vagueness.

It is not void for

Dela Piedra further argues that the acts that constitute recruitment and placement suffer from overbreadth since by merely referring a person for employment, a person may be convicted of illegal recruitment. That Section 13 (b) encompasses what appellant apparently considers as customary and harmless acts such as labor or employment referral (referring an applicant, according to appellant, for employment to a prospective employer) does not render the law overbroad. Evidently, Dela Piedra misapprehends concept of overbreadth. A statute may be said to be overbroad where it operates to inhibit the exercise of individual freedoms affirmatively guaranteed by the Constitution, such as the freedom of speech or religion. A generally worded statute, when construed to punish conduct which cannot be constitutionally punished is unconstitutionally vague to the extent that it fails to give adequate warning of the boundary between the constitutionally permissible and the constitutionally impermissible applications of the statute. (2) Anent the second issue, Dela Piedra invokes the equal protection clause in her defense. She points out that although the evidence purportedly shows that Jasmine Alejandro handed out application forms and even received Lourdes Modestos payment, appellant was the only one criminally charged. Alejandro, on the other hand, remained scot-free. From this, she concludes that the prosecution discriminated against her on grounds of regional origins. Appellant is a Cebuana while Alejandro is a Zamboanguea, and the alleged crime took place in Zamboanga City.

accused has not presented any evidence to overcome this presumption. The mere allegation that dela Piedra, a Cebuana, was charged with the commission of a crime, while a Zamboanguea, the guilty party in appellants eyes, was not, is insufficient to support a conclusion that the prosecution officers denied appellant equal protection of the laws. Case Digest on PEOPLE v. NAVARRA GR No. 119361, Feb 19, 2001 The accused-appellants were charged and found guilty by the RTC of illegal recruitment committed in a large scale resulting to economic sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. ISSUE: Did the RTC err in disregarding their defense of denial and in finding them guilty of the offense charged. HELD: Denials, without clear and convincing evidence to support them, can not sway judgement. They are selfserving statements and are inherently weak. Decision of lower court affirmed. Illegal recruitment has 2 essential elements: first, the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment or placement of workers; second, the offender undertakes any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined under Article 13 (b), or any prohibited practices enumerated under Art 34 of the Labor Code. A non-licensee or non-holder of authority means any person, corporation or entity without a valid license or authority to engage in recruitment or placement from the Secretary of Labor, or whose license or authority has been suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA or the Sec. of Labor. Under Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code, recruitment and placement refer to, any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising, or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, for profit or not: Provided, that any person or entity which in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to 2 or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment or placement. Accusedappellants committed acts of recruitment and placement, such as promises to the complainants of profitable employment abroad and acceptance of placement fees. They were also not authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment as certified by the DOLE. Art. 38 (b) of the Labor Code provides that illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if any of the following qualifying circumstances exists: first, when illegal recruitment is committed by a syndicate; second when it is committed in a large scale, committed against three or more persons individually or as a group. case digests, case digests of supreme court decisions, case digests Philippines, mobile phone deals, laptop computers, gadgets, free legal opinion, online jobs, best law firms in Mindanao

The Supreme Court held that the argument has no merit. The prosecution of one guilty person while others equally guilty are not prosecuted, is not, by itself, a denial of the equal protection of the laws. The unlawful administration by officers of a statute fair on its face, resulting in its unequal application to those who are entitled to be treated alike, is not a denial of equal protection unless there is shown to be present in it an element of intentional or purposeful discrimination. But a discriminatory purpose is not presumed, there must be a showing of clear and intentional discrimination. In the case at bar, Dela Piedra has failed to show that, in charging her, there was a clear and intentional discrimination on the part of the prosecuting officials. Furthermore, the presumption is that the prosecuting officers regularly performed their duties, and this presumption can be overcome only by proof to the contrary, not by mere speculation. As said earlier,

People v. Nellie Cabais y Gamuela G.R. No. 129070. March 16, 2001. Accused was convicted of illegal recruitment committed in large scale by a syndicate, and sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine. She was also convicted for two counts of estafa, and sentenced to (a) in Criminal Case No. 13999-R, to six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to seven (7) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party Joan Merante, in the amount of P40,000.00 as actual damages, and costs; (b) in Criminal Case No. 14000-R, to six (6) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party, Nancy Oidi, in the amount of P21,000.00 as actual damages, and costs. HELD: The essential elements of illegal recruitment committed in large scale are: (1) that the accused engaged in acts of recruitment and placement of workers as defined under Article 13 (b) or in any prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) that the accused had not complied with the guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the requirement to secure a license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers, either locally or overseas; and (3) that the accused committed the unlawful acts against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group. Accused-appellant contends that she was not involved in recruitment but was merely an employee of a recruitment agency. An employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that he actively and consciously participated in illegal recruitment. In this case, accused was the one who informed complainants of job prospects in Korea and the requirements for deployment. She also received money from them as placement fees. All of the complainants testified that they personally met accused-appellant and transacted with her regarding the overseas job placement offers. Complainants parted with their money, evidenced by receipts signed by accused Cabais and accused Forneas. Thus, accusedappellant actively participated in the recruitment of the complainants. Furthermore, accused-appellant did not possess any license to engage in recruitment activities, as evidenced by a certification from the POEA and the testimony of a representative of said government agency. Her acts constituted recruitment, and considering that she admittedly had no license or authority to recruit workers for overseas employment, accused-appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment. Despite the fact that she was just an ordinary employee of the company, her criminal liability would still stand for being a conspirator with the corporate officers in undertaking illegal recruitment activities. Since the recruitment involves three or more persons, accused-

appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment in a large scale punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code with life imprisonment and a fine of one hundred thousand pesos. As to the charges of estafa, accused-appellant contends that she is not liable for the offenses charged because she did not appropriate for her own use the money given to her by complainants as placement and passport fees. The elements of estafa are: (a) that the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (b) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. From the foregoing, the fact that the money was appropriated by accused for her own use is not an element of the crime of estafa. Thus, accused-appellant Cabais contention under such ground is untenable. Moreover, accused-appellant misrepresented herself to complainants as one who can make arrangements for job placements in Korea. Complainants were successfully induced to part with their money, causing them damage and prejudice. Consequently, accused-appellant is guilty of estafa. Sebastian vs. Calis, 314 SCRA 1 Nature: Administrative case in the SC. Unlawful, Dishonest, Immoral or Deceitful Conduct and Violation of the Lawyers Oath Facts: Atty Dorotheo Calis exacted 150,000 from Marilou Sebastian as payment for his service. Process documents for her trip to USA. Issued documents informing complainant that she will be assuming the name Lizette Ferrer married to Roberto Ferrer. Complainant was apprehended at the Singapore Internationla Airport DISBARRED. Violated Canon I, Rule 101. deceived complainant all for material gain

C13: In re Terrel, 2 Phil 266 (1903) Nature: In the matter of the suspension of Howard D. Terrel from practice of law Facts:

Terrel assisted in the organization of Centro Bellas Artes Club, created for the purpose of evading the law then in force in said city

SUSPENDED. Code of Civil Procedure sec 21: The promoting of orgs, with knowledge of their objects, for the purpose of violating or evading the laws against crime constitutes such misconduct on the part of the attorney, an officer of the court, as amounts to malpractice or gross misconduct in his office, and for which he may be removed or suspended.