DFA: Legal aid for victims of fraud, illegal recruitment in Italy
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos who allegedly fell victim to fraud and illegal recruitment in Italy will receive legal assistance from the Philippine government, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In a statement on Sunday, DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said he personally met with 33 victims at the Philippine Consulate in Milan last September 29.
De Vega said a total of 215 Filipinos lost approximately P39 million to two Milan-based agencies purportedly offering jobs in Italy.
He said that the DFA and the Department of Migrant Workers will both provide a lawyer to assist the 33 victims.
Consul General Elmer Cato said last August, they made a recommendation for the DFA and DMW to tap lawyers to assist the victims. He said there will be one lawyer to be provided by the DFA and another by DMW.
Cato said that the Consulate had been gathering pieces of evidence and witnesses for case build-up since August.
He added that the Consulate also started investigating other individuals and agencies in Milan “that have also defrauded Filipinos in transactions involving work permit conversions, airline tickets, and citizenship applications.”
“Although these are private transactions, the Consulate had to take a more active role in order to protect kababayan who may end up as victims if we do not step in,” Cato said.