Ex-OFW arrested for ‘illegal recruitment’

After four years of hiding from the police, Jocelyn Cabrera of Barangay 16 Poblacion, San Miguel, Iloilo has finally been arrested. She is accused of violating the Migrant Workers Act of 1995. Cabrera was nabbed in Tondo, Manila on March 11, 2019. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – A former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from San Miguel, Iloilo charged with syndicated illegal recruitment has been arrested.

The 36-year-old Jocelyn Cabrera of Barangay 16 Poblacion, San Miguel had been a fugitive these past four years. She was accused of violating Republic Act 8042 (Migrant Workers Act of 1995).

Cabrera was arrested around 6:30 a.m. on March 11 at Baseco Compound, Barangay 649, Tondo, Manila.

The No. 3 most wanted person in San Miguel, Iloilo was placed under surveillance for some two months prior to her arrest after the police got a tip that she was in Tondo, according to Chief Inspector Jojo Tabaloc, San Miguel police chief.

Cabrera’s arrest warrant was issued by Judge Ma. Theresa Enriquez-Gaspar of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33.

No bail bond was recommended for the suspect’s temporary liberty.

According to Tabaloc, while Cabrera was working in Saudi Arabia a few years ago she managed to convince other OFWs – mostly from Iloilo – whose contracts were expiring to let her find work for them in other countries but for a fee.

Three of several victims were from San Miguel, said Tabaloc. He identified one of them as Vivian Laruan of Barangay 4 Poblacion.

Laruan and two others each paid Cabrera between P60,000 to P70,000 but nothing happened to their job papers and the suspect disappeared, said Tabaloc.

With the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, Laruan was able to file a complaint against Cabrera.

From Tondo where she was arrested, Cabrera was transported to San Miguel.

She is now detailed at the municipal police station and has declined to be interviewed.

Under Section 7 of the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, any person found guilty of illegal recruitment shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six years but not more than 12 years, and be made to pay a fine not less than P200 thousand nor more than P500 thousand.

Section 6 of the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 defines illegal recruitment as “any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, procuring workers and includes referring, contact services, promising or advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of authority contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.”/PN


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