Knowing, willing participant in illegal recruitment activities liable as conspirators

The evidence overwhelming established the fact that both the accused-appellant and his sister Precy Benemerito were engaged in the business of illegal recruitment. In their testimonies, Fernando Arcal and Carlito Gumarang were positive, categorical and firm, even under grueling cross-examination, that the accused-appellant actively participated in the recruitment process. The latter was present when each complainant was offered a job in Japan, and the accused-appellant even made representation as to the existence of such jobs accompanied the complainants for their medical examinations. The accused-appellant likewise received installment payments from the complainants. These acts demonstrated beyond doubt that the accused-appellant was not merely an applicant for a job or an unwitting victim of sister; on the contrary, he was a knowing and willing participant in the recruitment activities, which were obviously conducted for profit. We do not then hesitate to rule, as did the trial court, that the accused-appellant and his sister Precy Benemerito, who is still at large, were co-conspirators in the recruitment business which, as hereunder discussed, was illegal and on a large scale. Conspiracy exists when two or more people come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It can be inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest. Once conspiracy is established, the act of one conspirator is the act of the others. [G.R. No. 120389. November 21, 1996]