CASE DIGEST: People v. Fernandez

G.R. No. 199211 : June 4, 2014




The RTC, Branch 21 of Manadaluyong City convicted the appellant of the crimes of Illegal Recruitment in large scale and five (5) counts of estafa committed against complainants Airene Etac, Jowel A. Baja, Joemar Aquino, Luis M. Bernardo and Anthony M. Canlas. The RTC gave full faith and credence to the testimonies of the complainants that the appellant promised them employment abroad. The trial court held that the appellant represented to complainants that he had the power and ability to send them in Hongkong, and that by virtue of this representation and fraud, the complainants were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the factual findings of the RTC. It agreed with the trial court that all the elements of Illegal recruitment as defined under Article 13(b), in relation to Article 34 of the Labor Code were sufficiently established and constitutes illegal recruitment in large scale. The Ca also declared that appellants assurance that he could deploy the complainants for employment in Hongkong constitutes estafa.

The appellant filed an appeal before this Court.
ISSUE: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding him guilty of the case of Illegal Recruitment and estafa.
HELD: Court of Appeals decision is sustained.


For illegal recruitment in large scale to prosper, the prosecution has to prove three essential elements, namely: (1) the accused undertook a recruitment activity under Article 13(b) or any prohibited practice under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the accused did not have the license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers; and (3) the accused committed such illegal activity against three or more persons individually or as a group. People v. Hernandez,, 428 Phil. 643


We are convinced that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that appellant violated Article 315 (2) (a) of the Revised Penal Code as amended, which provides that estafa is committed by any person who defrauds another by using a fictitious name; or by falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business; by imaginary transactions or similar forms of deceit executed prior to or simultaneous with the fraud. People v. Sagaydo, 385 Phil. 538

The elements of deceit and damage are clearly present; the appellants false pretense were the very cause that induced the complainants to part with their money.