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DOJ indicts recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso

/ 02:29 PM July 09, 2015
Maria Kristina Sergio

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

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to file criminal case against the alleged recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso.

In its 18-page resolution released Thursday, to be charged with qualified trafficking are Ma. Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao and a certain “Ike.”

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Sergio and Lacanilao will be charged with illegal recruitment and estafa.

The DOJ explained that the three would be charged with qualified trafficking, stating that the elements of trafficking are present in the case, which include recruitment, transportation, transfer, or harboring of persons and when the act has an “exploitative purpose.”

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Based on the testimonies of Veloso and her relatives, the DOJ said “the evidence speaks of fraud and deception as the means employed by respondents in recruiting complainant.”

The DOJ said Sergio has managed to convince Veloso to pay a P20,000 fee by relying on a promise that she can find her a job in Malaysia.

“Sergio admitted in her counter-affidavit that she describes complainant to be vulnerable and gullible. Obviously, respondents took advantage of the vulnerability and gullibility of complainant Veloso.”

The DOJ added that Veloso was exploited by leading her to believe that a job was waiting for her in Indonesia when in fact she was transporting prohibited drugs.

“This exploitative purpose of using complainant in transporting illegal drugs resulted [in] the incarceration of herein complainant. Worse, complainant, who was referred and considered by respondents as ‘victim’ will eventually suffer the penalty of death,” the DOJ added.

On the other hand, Sergio and Lacanilao will be charged with violation of the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 for recruiting and actually deploying Veloso without a valid license or recruitment authority required under the law.

The resolution stated that Lacanilao’s admission that he introduced Veloso to his partner, Sergio who then promised to find her a job in Malaysia in exchange for a fee “makes them both liable for simple illegal recruitment.”

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Meanwhile, in charging Lacanilao and Sergio with estafa, the DOJ said the Revised Penal Code is clear that the crime is committed “by any person who shall defraud another by false pretenses or fraudulent acts.”

“Respondents falsely pretended and misrepresented that respondent Sergio had the capacity to deploy complainant as a domestic helper in Malaysia in exchange for a fee in the amount of P20,000…Complainant relied on the representation of respondents and was induced to part with her money in the amount of P7,000,” the resolution stated.

It added that Veloso also gave them her cellular phone and pawned her tricycle to Sergio and Lacanilao.

“Clearly, complainant suffered damage as the promised job abroad was inexistent,” the DOJ said.

The case was filed by the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) based on the affidavit of Veloso which was obtained by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when they visited her in Indonesia.

The resolution dated July 6 was submitted by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon and approved by Assistant Senior State Prosecutor Elizabeth Santos and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

The case will be filed before the Talavera, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court.

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TAGS: Death Penalty, Department of Justice, Human trafficking, Illegal Drugs, Illegal recruitment, Indonesia, Mary Jane Veloso
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