PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. CARMELITA ALVAREZ, appellant.
D E C I S I O N
In illegal recruitment, mere failure of the complainant to present written receipts for money paid for acts constituting recruitment activities is not fatal to the prosecution, provided the payment can be proved by clear and convincing testimonies of credible witnesses.
Before us is an appeal from the January 28, 2000 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 93, in Criminal Case No. Q-94-58179. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:
“WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises, the court finds the accused CARMELITA ALVAREZ guilty of Illegal Recruitment ...view middle of the document...
00 to P48,600.00, as placement and processing fees, and x x x which the complainants delivered and paid to herein accused the said amount, without said accused first having secured the necessary license or authority from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.”
On arraignment, appellant, assisted by Atty. Donato Mallabo, pleaded not guilty. After trial in due course, the RTC rendered the assailed Decision.
Version of the Prosecution
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) as follows:
“Arnel Damian is one of the complainants in the case at bar. He testified that he was introduced to appellant by Reynaldo Abrigo, who was then the boyfriend of Teresita Gonzales (daughter of appellant Carmelita Alvarez) at appellant’s house in 25-B West Santiago St., San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. During said meeting, appellant convinced complainant that if he could produce [t]wenty-[f]ive [t]housand [p]esos (P25,000.00), he would be deployed to Taiwan as a factory worker and would be receiving a salary of $600.00.
“On December 27, 1993, complainant gave appellant [t]welve [t]housand [f]ive [h]undred [p]esos (P12,500) for which he was issued a receipt (Exhibit A) with the words ‘FOR PROCESSING FEE’ written therein by appellant herself. Aside from the processing fee, complainant also gave appellant [t]wo [t]housand [f]ive [h]undred [p]esos ([P]2,500.00) for medical expenses and one thousand five hundred pesos (P1,500.00) for the passport, but was not issued a receipt for said payments.
“According to complainant, while waiting for the results of his medical examination, he received a call informing him that appellant was arrested. Becoming suspicious, complainant then went to the Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA) to verify whether appellant had a license to recruit. As per Certification issued by the POEA on June 1, 1994, he found out that appellant was not licensed to recruit. Realizing that appellant would never be able to send complainant to Taiwan, he filed a complaint against appellant with the POEA.
“On cross-examination, complainant clarified that Reynaldo Abrigo did not actually introduce him to appellant, but merely gave appellant’s address and telephone number. Thereafter, complainant went to appellant’s house together with Ruben Riola and Michael Lumahan. In addition, complainant stated under cross-examination that appellant told him that according to the medical examination results, complainant was unfit to work. Consequently, he demanded the return of his money but appellant failed to do so.
“Antonio Damian is also one of the complainants in the case at bar. He testified that he is the brother of Arnel Damian and that when his brother failed the medical examination, his brother Arnel immediately demanded from appellant the return of the processing fee. However, appellant could not return the money to him anymore. Instead,...