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People v Panis
142 SCRA 664 (1986)
Four informations were filed on January 9, 1981, in the Court of First Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City alleging that Serapio Abug, private respondent herein, "without first securing a license from the Ministry of Labor as a holder of authority to operate a fee-charging employment agency, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally operate a private fee-charging employment agency by charging fees and expenses (from) and promising employment in Saudi Arabia" to four separate individuals named therein, in violation of Article 16 in relation to Article 39 of the Labor Code.
Abug filed a motion to quash on the ground that the informations did not charge an offense because he was accused of illegally recruiting only one person in each of the four informations. Under the proviso in Article 13(b), he claimed, there would be illegal recruitment only "whenever two or more persons are in any manner promised or offered any employment for a fee."
The posture of the petitioner is that the private respondent is being prosecuted under Article 39 in relation to Article 16 of the Labor Code; hence, Article 13(b) is not applicable. However, as the first two cited articles penalize acts of recruitment and placement without proper authority, which is the charge embodied in the informations, application of the definition of recruitment and placement in Article 13(b) is unavoidable.
Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of violating Article 13(b) of P. D. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code.
Article 13(b) of P. D. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code, states that, "(b) 'Recruitment and placement' refers to any act of canvassing, 'enlisting, contracting, transporting, 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 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."
As we see it, the proviso was intended neither to impose a condition on the basic rule nor to provide an exception thereto but merely to create a presumption. The presumption is that the individual or entity is engaged in recruitment and placement whenever he or it is dealing with two or more persons to whom, in consideration of a fee, an offer or promise of employment is made in the course of the "canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring (of) workers."
At any rate, the interpretation here adopted should give more force to the campaign against illegal recruitment and placement, which has victimized many Filipino workers seeking a better life in a foreign land, and investing hard-earned savings or even borrowed funds in pursuit of their dream, only to be awakened to the reality of a cynical deception at the hands of their own countrymen.
Acknowledgement: Peter De Guzman