Multiple cases of illegal recruitment

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Like the drug menace, trafficking and illegal recruitment are crimes against the poor people. They are the new social cancers that have consistently brought untold pains to the working class. Why is the government unable and seemingly indecisive in putting an end to this social and economic malady?

The government has been, for the longest time, unable to solve this continuing problem. Next to drugs, illegal recruitment is one of the most despicable crimes against the poor and carries with it many serious implications and far-reaching consequences. The government should focus on the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of proven offenders. Poor migrant workers should be protected from these despicable predators who prey upon the poor.

Under prevailing laws, there are many kinds of illegal recruitment. The first kind under Article 34 of the Labor Code, is when any unlicensed or unauthorized person or agency performs any of the acts of recruitment under Article 13, paragraph b. One can be held liable even if there is no money paid or received. The second kind of illegal recruitment is when a licensed and authorized person or agency commits any of the prohibited acts under Article 34 of the code, or under section 6 of Republic Act 8042 and section 5 of Republic Act 10022.

The third kind of illegal recruitment is the act committed by an unlicensed and unauthorized person or entity that commits any of the prohibited acts under Article 34, as well as section 6 of RA 8042 and section 5 of RA 10022. The fourth kind of illegal recruitment is syndicated recruitment, prohibited and penalized under Article 38 of the Labor Code, whenever committed by three or more perpetrators who conspired with one another in carrying any of the unlawful acts defined in Article 13, section b for unlicensed persons and entities as well as Article 34, whether licensed or not. Thus, whenever a client comes to me to file a complaint for illegal recruitment, I always ask him to get the names of the agency manager, the agency recruiter or canvasser, and the agency cashier, the three of them making the recruitment syndicated. This will entail a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of at least P2 million.

The fifth kind of illegal recruitment is called large-scale recruitment, under Article 38, in relation to Article 13, paragraph b, and Article 34 of the Labor Code whenever the number of victims are three or more The sixth kind or illegal recruitment is economic sabotage in cases where either the perpetrators are three or more, or syndicated or the victims are three or more, which is in large scale. The penalties for illegal recruitment had been raised and raised over the years since 1974 upon the effectivity of the Labor Code. The original penalty under Article 39 in relation to Article 288, now 303, was only imprisonment of three months to three years or a fine of P1,000 to P10,000.

The penalty was increased in 1995, 20 years after the Labor Code took effect, by RA 8042 to imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years and a fine of P200,000 to P300,000 for simple illegal recruitment. For economic sabotage, the penalty was raised to life imprisonment and a fine of P1 million. If the victim is below 18 years old, the maximum penalty should be imposed. In 2010, RA 10022 increased the penalty for simple illegal recruitment to 12 years and one day to 20 years imprisonment and a fine ranging from P1 million to P2 million. For economic sabotage, it is now life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P2 million to P5 million.

It should be in the maximum if the victim is below 18 years of age. Alien offenders should be summarily deported after service of sentence. There should also be automatic revocation of licenses of erring recruitment agencies, as well as cancellation of licenses for those ancillary businesses that helped in the perpetration of the offense, like medical clinics, lending companies, and training centers. Despite all these, illegal recruitment continues to proliferate.

For every one recruiter apprehended, charged and convicted, there are 10 or 20 who go free and continue to victimize the poor. If I had the power to make things happen, many draconian measures should be in place. One of these is to revive the death penalty and execute at least one convicted illegal recruiter every month. These people have no more right to live to cause too many miseries on earth.


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