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3 more complainants step up vs recruiters

Maria Kristina Sergio

Maria Kristina Sergio, the alleged recruiter of convicted Filipino drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday approved the indictment of Mary Jane Veloso’s alleged recruiters, Ma. Kristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, for large-scale illegal recruitment and recommended their continued detention without bail.

Sergio and Lacanilao were charged with violation of Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 for the illegal recruitment of three new complainants who, like Veloso, were from Nueva Ecija.

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“The new complainants are united in saying that both respondents recruited and promised them work abroad… [B]oth respondents are not licensed/authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment,” inquest prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa said in an 18-page resolution.

Estepa also recommended the consolidation of the cases with the one filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on behalf of Veloso.

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The prosecutor also recommend that further preliminary investigation be conducted on the other charges against Sergio and Lacanilao such as human trafficking and estafa that were filed by Veloso’s family and 11 other complainants, many of whom failed to subscribe to their affidavits.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano approved all of Estepa’s recommendations. The large-scale illegal recruitment case against Sergio and Lacanilao is expected to be filed today in a regional trial court in Nueva Ecija.

In the resolution, the prosecutor also cited an account by Sergio gathered by the NBI through the police where she admitted being connected with an international drug syndicate.

Sergio allegedly named contacts based in Quezon City, Hong Kong and Malaysia, including two Nigerians connected to the West African Drug Syndicate.

“Our case against the suspects is solid, but we still would recommend to the DFA to make representations with the Indonesian government for Veloso to testify against her recruiters,” said lawyer Eric Nuqui, head of the NBI antihuman trafficking division.

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TAGS: complainants, Illegal recruitment, Julius Lacanilao, Ma. Kristina Sergio, ofws, Overseas Filipino workers, recruiters
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