Number of victims in ILLEGAL recruitment does NOT matter

The number of persons dealt with is not an essential ingredient of the act of recruitment and placement of workers. Any of the acts mentioned in the basic rule in Article 13(b) will constitute recruitment and placement even if only one prospective worker is involved. The proviso merely lays down a rule of evidence that 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 that presumption. This is not unlike the presumption in article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, for example, regarding the failure of a public officer to produce upon lawful demand funds or property entrusted to his custody. Such failure shall be prima facie evidence that he has put them to personal use; in other words, he shall be deemed to have malversed such funds or property. In the instant case, the word "shall be deemed" should by the same token be given the force of a disputable presumption or of prima facie evidence of engaging in recruitment and placement. (G.R. No. L-58674-77, July 11, 1986)

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