Monday, January 3, 2011

2 British nationals, Pinoy face raps for duping aspiring OFWs

Two British nationals and a Filipino are now facing charges of estafa and illegal recruitment for allegedly scamming around P1.7 million in processing and placement fees from aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Vice President Jejomar Binay, under whose office the Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (TFAIR) is under, said that Britons Simon John Paice, Nicholas John Vickers and Filipino Bernadette Cerrudo — through their supposed visa consultancy agency NSN Worldwide Advisers, Inc. — collected around P1.7 million in processing and placement fees from their victims.

Despite the payment, however, Binay said the three failed to deploy the complainants to the United Kingdom, where they were supposed to work as domestic helpers, caregivers or drivers with salaries ranging from P80,000 to P100,000 monthly.

The complainants were identified as Maria Teresa Mangubat, Gregoria Marquez, Anita Bantugan, Leonila Lavarez, Jelen Magpantay, Loan Lipato, Evelyn Espejo, Hazellyn Eugenio, Madelyn Tindungna, Wilma Villamin, Jayson Bolado, and Imelda Medina. 

Binay said the agency reportedly enticed its victims by offering students visas to the UK and charging fees to handle the cost of visa processing, accommodations, enrollment, and training in the foreign country. 

But when their student visa applications were denied by the British Embassy and the complainants demanded reimbursement, the agency allegedly offered enrollment in another university for an additional amount.

Binay said the complainants then sought the help of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), which conducted an entrapment operation where a CIDG agent posed as a job applicant. 

After a preliminary investigation, he said the Makati Prosecutors Office said that the suspects violated provisions of R.A. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 on large-scale illegal recruitment. 

It likewise filed 12 counts of estafa against the three. 

The case, which was filed last December 21 before the sala of Judge Honorio Lao, is non-bailable. The suspects are currently detained at Camp Crame.

"This is just the start. We will continue to strengthen the Aquino administration's fight against illegal recruitment and human trafficking," said Binay. 

The TFAIR is composed of the PNP, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ/KBK, GMANews.TV

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