Couple duped more than P1M by illegal recruiters in Italy


The couple God Prey and Janice Santos of San Roque Bitas, Arayat, Pampanga, went to Bantay OCW at Radyo Inquirer to complain that they were duped  by illegal recruiters who promised them jobs as seasonal workers in Rome, Italy, in exchange of P340,000 each.

In a complaint filed with a Pampanga prosecutor, the couple named Edna Musngi and her daughters Ma. Vanessa Musngi Pineda and Shiela Marie Musngi as those who squeezed them of the huge amount.

Janice alleged that she forwarded her initial payment of P120,000 to Vanessa in Italy in May 2010. She recalled Vanessa had encouraged her to apply for placement for her husband as well. So the couple borrowed P60,000 from an aunt of hers in Germany and P60,000 from her husband’s cousin in Paris to raise the amount.

Edna, Janice further alleged, had told them their application would be facilitated by one Merly Mendoza, owner of a recruitment agency. Sheila reportedly egged the couple on, telling them she herself was an applicant and they would fly to Italy together.

It was July 2010 when the couple completed their payments. Aside from tapping relatives, they sold their properties and borrowed from lending companies. Last week of that month, Vanessa allegedly informed them that their nulla osta or certificates of no impediments (required for visas related to family unification, marriage or work) had been released and would soon be sent to them. But they needed to pay the remaining balance.

By August, the couple claimed they had sent more than P720,000 to Vanessa and a certain Rossvy Calma in Italy through a remittance center, excluding transfer charges of almost P100,000. The couple received their clearance documents on August 9, 2010.

Edna reportedly assured them they would be in Italy soon. She then instructed them to meet a certain Jaime Fulgencio, who would assist them in getting their visa from the Italian embassy and other necessary travel requirements, according to Janice. Jaime reportedly charged them P30,000 each.

The couple met up with Jaime along Avenida, near Recto Avenue, Manila. They handed him P30,000 as partial payment. No receipt was issued.

Jaime, their story goes, accompanied them to get their medical examinations on August 16, 2010. He also accompanied them for a training session at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). He made the arrangements to send their application to the Italian Embassy though the accredited courier. Visa processing, he told them, would take about one month.

But after two months, their visas had not been released. Janice e-mailed a query to the Italian embassy. The embassy replied that it was still waiting for confirmation of their nulla osta.

Early 2011, there was still no update or clarification regarding their visa application. They said Edna and Vanessa had told them there was a delay in their application because of some technicality.

But Janice was starting to worry. She e-mailed Merly, who replied that there was no need to panic because the agency was already fixing the problem.

In April 2011, the couple learned that Edna’s other applicants were denied visas and their passports were returned.

At the Italian embassy, they were told that their nulla osta were discovered to be fake. God Prey received his passport back in September 2011 with a letter stating that his visa application had been denied.

The couple no longer got responses to their frantic e-mail messages to Vanessa, Edna and Merly.

Last March, the Santoses went to the National Bureau of Investigation for help.

They have also filed a complaint  against their alleged  recruiters with the prosecutors of the Regional Trial Court in Pampanga.

Bantay OCW tried to get in touch with their alleged recruiters but the overseas numbers were no longer active.

We hope the Santos couple can still get their money back. Their dreams of a better life for their family abroad were ruined by illegal recruiters.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Marlou Wang

     This is dated April 1st, 2012, pero ang mga kasong ganito ay “lumang tugtugin na”. I recall when I was in Manila, along Dos Castillas street adjacent to Ramon Magsaysay High School, napansin ko yung buong street na ito from Espana to the other crossing, puno ng jeep when I was on my way home to eat lunch. Tinanong ko kung ano yung mga jeep na iyon. Sabi sa akin, mga naghahatid daw na galing sa probinsya sa magsisipag-abroad. Meron recruiter next door na pansamantalang ginawang opisina ito. Naghintay daw ng matagal ang mga “magsispag-abroad” hanggang sa nag-inquire sila sa airport para alamin ang pag-alis nila ng araw na iyon. Ang recruiter hindi na sumipot, di nagpakita sa airport.

    Bakit hindi mapigil ang panglilinlang na ito. Dapat dito ay death penalty ang hatol sa fake recruiters na ito para hindi na tularan. Marami diyan nagbebenta ng lupain o lahat ng ipon nila para lang makapag-abroad para kumita ng mas mabutin sahol.

  • peter r

    Never ending story of Filipino stupidity and ignorance. Sayang Telaga

  • akramgolteb

    Tama lumang tugtugin na ito. Hindi mo kailangan magbayad ng recruiter para makakuha ng trabaho sa abroad. Tanung mo sa mga Pinoy na malalaki kinikita sa abroad at magaganda ang trabaho, karamihan sa kanila hindi dumaan sa recruiter. Kung hindi maiwasan at gagamit ng recruiter, madali check sa POEA kung legit ang recruiter. Kung hindi naka rehistro, hindi legit. Kailan ba matututo ang iba sa atin. Dahil din ito sa ugali ng madami, masyado umaasa sa iba para abutin ang pangarap.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos