DOJ indicts Veloso's recruiters for trafficking, illegal recruitment

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2015 01:53 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2015 09:53 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to indict before a trial court the alleged illegal recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso: Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, and their alleged cohort, alias “Ike” for qualified trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa.

This time, the criminal informations are in connection with Veloso’s complaint which was filed in April through the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD).

The filing of the criminal informations were recommended by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon, in an 18-page resolution, dated July 6, and approved by Assistant Senior State Prosecutor Elizabeth Santos and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

The DOJ found probable cause to indict Sergio and Lacanilao for illegal recruitment, stating that a violation of the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 takes place when the recruiter is a non-licensee or non-holder of a valid license or authority to recruit under the Labor Code of the Philippines.

The DOJ cited Lacanilao’s admission that it was he who introduced Veloso to Sergio, who, in turn, promised Veloso a job as a domestic helper in Malaysia.

“The detailed narration of complainant Veloso that it was respondent Sergio who promised her a domestic helper job in Malaysia with a monthly salary of P25,000 proves convincingly that respondents committed the imputed offense,” the resolution read.

As to the finding of probable cause against Sergio and Lacanilao for estafa, the DOJ said the Revised Penal Code is clear that the crime is committed “by any person who shall defraud another by false pretenses or fraudulent acts.”

“Respondents falsely pretended and misrepresented that respondent Sergio had the capacity to deploy complainant as a domestic helper in Malaysia in exchange for a fee in the amount of P20,000.

“Complainant relied on the representation of respondents and was induced to part with her money in the amount of P7,000,” the resolution read.

In addition, this led Veloso to hand them her cellular phone and even pawn her tricycle to respondents, the DOJ said.

As to the qualified trafficking charge, apart from Sergio and Lacanilao, an alias “Ike,” reportedly an African-looking male, is included in the recommendation for indictment.

The DOJ said that the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act is clear that a violation of this law occurs when a person or persons is/are "recruited, transported, or received .. using exploitation as a tool, at the minimum."

“The exploitative purposes of using complainant Veloso in transporting illegal drugs resulted to the incarceration of complainant... [w]orse, complainant... will eventually suffer the penalty of death,” the resolution read.

These new criminal informations are on top of the large-scale illegal recruitment case already pending against Sergio and Lacanilao before the Baloc, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 37. This case involves 3 other complainants.

Sergio and Lacanilao remain detained on the basis of arrest warrants issued by that RTC, and they will be arraigned on those charges on July 21.

The latest criminal informations will also be filed in Nueva Ecija.