MANILA—Police raided a recruitment agency in Makati City for allegedly continuing operations despite being suspended by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The POEA said East Transglobal Manpower Consultants Inc. was placed under preventive suspension on September 6, according to Supt. Roque Merdegia Jr., chief of CIDG Anti Transnational Crime Unit (CIDG-ATCU).
“Hindi sila pwedeng mag-recruit, mag-process, magpaalis ng mga aplikante papunta sa iba’t ibang bansa,” he said.
“May mga staff, employees, kahit suspended. Dapat nga di na sila nag-o-operate. Walang silbi ang suspension, nag-o-operate pa rin.”
CIDG-ATCU also rescued more than 200 people allegedly living in an accommodation house of the recruitment agency in Libertad, Pasay city, all hoping they will be employed overseas.
CIDG-ATCU investigation showed that the agency continued asking for placement fees from the victims, who pulled their application upon learning that the agency was suspended. However, the agency refused to give them their money back.
“Despite the fact na sila ay suspended, open pa rin ang opisina at tumatanggap pa rin talaga ng mga aplikante. Itong 3 complainant ay lumalabas na tumakas lamang doon sa accommodation doon sa house, at kinukuha na nila ang kanilang dokumento nang malaman nilang suspendido," Merdegia said.
"Sabi ng agency, meron pa silang dapat bayaran sa agency kaya nagsagawa na kami ng entrapment operation."
According to a victim who refused to be identified, the agency continued to process papers for clients who want to work in Saudi Arabia as domestic helpers.
“Tuloy pa rin ang pag-process nila ng papers kasi hindi naman daw suspended ang agency nila. Hiningan kami ng P34,000,” the victim said.
Arrested during the entrapment operation were 8 employees, including recruitment manager Zenby Malhabour. Others arrested were Maria Elena Pacayra, Madelyn Arro, Jesusa Panganiban, Maria Victoria Alkonga, Russel Tatoy, Nilo Ayco and Joel Cariño.
Arro said they were just in the office to guard the documents and that they are not necessarily conducting operations.
“Kasi may mga dokumento na naiwan doon, nandoon lang naman kami. Kung may ginagawa kaming proseso dapat may dinadala kami sa POEA, kaso wala po. Mayroon naman kaming nakalagay doon na hindi kami nag-a-accept ng applicant,” Arro said.
The suspects will be charged with syndicated illegal recruitment, trafficking in person, and estafa.