Jurisprudence on Recruitment and Placement of Workers


In addition to the cash and surety bonds and the escrow money, an appeal bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award is required to perfect an appeal from a decision of the POEA. Obviously, the appeal bond is intended to further insure the payment of the monetary award in favor of the employee if it is eventually affirmed on appeal to the NLRC. 

It is true that the cash and surety bonds and the money placed in escrow are supposed to guarantee the payment of all valid and legal claims against the employer, but these claims are not limited to monetary awards to employees whose contracts of employment have been violated. The POEA can go against these bonds also for violations by the recruiter of the conditions of its license, the provisions of the Labor Code and its implementing rules, E.O. 247 (reorganizing the POEA) and the POEA Rules, as well as the settlement of other liabilities the recruiter may incur. 

As for the escrow agreement, it was presumably intended to provide for a standing fund, as it were, to be used only as a last resort and not to be reduced with the enforcement against it of every claim of recruited workers that may be adjudged against the employer. This amount may not even be enough to cover such claims and, even if it could initially, may eventually be exhausted after satisfying other subsequent claims. (G.R. No. 109835, November 22, 1993) 

A person who violates any of the provisions under Article 13(b) and Article 34 of the Labor Code can be charged and convicted separately of illegal recruitment and estafa [Revised Penal Code, Article 315, 2(a)] because illegal recruitment is a malum prohibitum where the criminal intent of the accused is not necessary for a conviction while estafa is a malum in se where criminal intent of the accused is necessary for a conviction. (G.R. No. 91552, March 10, 1994) 
The elements of illegal recruitment in large scale are: 

[1] The accused undertook any recruitment activity defined under Article 13 (b) or any prohibited practice enumerated under Article 34 of the Labor Code;
[2] He did not have the license or authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers; and
[3] He committed the same against three or more persons, individually or as a group. 

As stated in the first sentence of Section 6 of RA 8042, the persons who may be held liable for illegal recruitment are the principals, accomplices and accessories. 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. The existence of the corporate entity does not shield from prosecution the corporate agent who knowingly and intentionally causes the corporation to commit a crime. The corporation obviously acts, and can act, only by and through its human agents and it is their conduct that the law must deter. The employee or agent of a corporation engaged in unlawful business naturally aids and abets in the carrying on of such business and will be prosecuted as principal if, with knowledge of the business, its purpose and effect, he consciously contributes his efforts to its conduct and promotion, however slight his contribution may be. The law of agency, as applied in civil cases, has no application in criminal cases, and no man can escape punishment when he participates in the commission of a crime upon the ground that he simply acted as an agent of any party. The culpability of the employee therefore hinges on his knowledge of the offense and his active participation in its commission. Where it is shown that the employee was merely acting under the direction of his superiors and was unaware that his acts constituted a crime, he may not be held criminally liable for an act done for and in behalf of his employer. (G.R. No. 129577, February 15, 2000) 

Illegal recruitment is committed when two elements concur, namely: (1) the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable one to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; and (2) he undertakes either any activity within the meaning of "recruitment and placement" defined under Art. 13(b), or any of the prohibited practices enumerated under Art. 34 of the Labor Code. (G.R. No. 129593, July 10, 2000) 

Conviction under RA 8042 or the Labor Code of the Philippines does not preclude punishment under the Revised Penal Code for the crime of estafa. The above-mentioned facts established by the prosecution proved that the following elements of estafa had been committed by accused-appellant, to wit: (a) accused-appellant defrauded another by abuse of confidence, or by means of deceit, and (b) the offended party suffered damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation. (G.R. No. 132311, September 28, 2000) 

The lack of criminal intent on the part of an accused is hardly a defense in the prosecution for illegal recruitment. It must be emphasized that illegal recruitment in large scale penalized under the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, a special law, is malum prohibitum and not malum in se. The criminal intent of the accused is not necessary and the fact alone that the accused violated the law warrants her conviction. (G.R. No. 135382, September 29, 2000)

The essential elements of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale are (1) the accused engages in acts of recruitment and placement of workers defined under Article 13(b) or in any prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the accused has not complied with the guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the securing of a license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers, either locally or overseas; and (3) the accused commits the unlawful acts against three or more persons, individually or as a group. When illegal recruitment is committed in large scale or when it is 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, it is considered as an offense involving economic sabotage. (G.R. No. 123146 June 17, 2003) 

It can be gleaned from the language of Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code that the act of recruitment may be for profit or not. It is sufficient that the accused promises or offers for a fee employment to warrant conviction for illegal recruitment. (G.R. No. 169076, January 23, 2007) 

And even if it were true that no money changed hands, money is not material to a prosecution for illegal recruitment, as the definition of "recruitment and placement" in the Labor Code includes the phrase, "whether for profit or not". We held in People v. Jamilosa that it was "sufficient that the accused promises or offers for a fee employment to warrant conviction for illegal recruitment." (G.R. No. 180926, December 10, 2008) 

Illegal recruitment is committed when these two elements concur: (1) the offenders have no valid license or authority required by law to enable them to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers, and (2) the offenders undertake any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined in Article 13 (b) or any prohibited practices enumerated in Article 34 of the Labor Code. Under Article 13 (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". In the simplest terms, illegal recruitment is committed by persons who, without authority from the government, give the impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for employment purposes. The law imposes a higher penalty when the crime is committed by a syndicate as it is considered as an offense involving economic sabotage. 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. (G.R. No. 179931, October 26, 2009; G.R. No. 185277, March 18, 2010; G .R. No. 184058, March 10, 2010; G.R. No. 158627, March 5, 2010)

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