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Darvin v Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 125044
July 13, 1998
Imelda Darvin was convicted of simple illegal recruitment under the Labor Code by the RTC. It stemmed from a complaint of one Macaria Toledo who was convinced by the petitioner that she has the authority to recruit workers for abroad and can facilitate the necessary papers in connection thereof. In view of this promise, Macaria gave her P150,000 supposedly intended for US Visa and air fare.
On appeal, the CA affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto, hence this petition.
Whether or not appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment.
Art. 13 of the Labor Code provides the definition of recruitment and placement as:
...b.) any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, that any reason person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.
Art. 38 of the Labor Code provides:
a.)Any recruitment activities, including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 43 of the Labor Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code.
Applied to the present case, to uphold the conviction of accused-appellant, two elements need to be shown: (1) the person charged with the crime must have undertaken recruitment activities: and (2) the said person does not have a license or authority to do so.
In the case, the Court found no sufficient evidence to prove that accused-appellant offered a job to private respondent. It is not clear that accused gave the impression that she was capable of providing the private respondent work abroad. What is established, however, is that the private respondent gave accused-appellant P150,000.
By themselves, procuring a passport, airline tickets and foreign visa for another individual, without more, can hardly qualify as recruitment activities. Aside from the testimony of private respondent, there is nothing to show that appellant engaged in recruitment activities.
At best, the evidence proffered by the prosecution only goes so far as to create a suspicion that appellant probably perpetrated the crime charged. But suspicion alone is insufficient, the required quantum of evidence being proof beyond reasonable doubt. When the People’s evidence fail to indubitably prove the accused’s authorship of the crime of which he stand accused, then it is the Court’s duty, and the accused’s right, to proclaim his innocence.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby granted and the decision of the CA is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant is hereby ACQUITTED on ground of reasonably doubt. The accused is ordered immediately released from her confinement.
Acknowledgement: Flor Bonador