A Singaporean and two of his Filipino partners are facing charges of illegal recruitment and trafficking of persons.
Charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were Roland Chii Ming Teo, 62, a Singaporean residing at the Pan Pacific Hotel on Adriatico St. in Ermita, Manila; Liwayway Capistrano, 57, and Lanie Acaso, 36, both of Palmera Homes in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
Head Agent Arnel Dalumpines, chief of NBI-Special Task Force (STF), said the trio were arrested late Tuesday in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, while they were in the process of recruiting several would-be OFWs.
A fourth suspect, Maria Josefina Villanueva, registered owner of PEN Travel and Tours Philippines based in Pasay City, is still being hunted.
Follow up operations are also being conducted against several other suspects identified only as Homer, Jenny, both staff members of Pentravel Tours Phils., and an immigration officer named Glazy.
Dalumpines said the arrests stemmed from the complaint of Herminia Servillon and Eleanor Valenzuela, who both formerly worked in Singapore as domestic helpers.
In their complaint, Servillon and Valenzuela said they were recruited by Capistrano and Acaso in 2007 to work as directly hired domestic helpers in Singapore for a monthly salary of 360 Singaporean dollars.
They were promised fast deployment and no initial fee but with six months salary deduction.
They said they were personally interviewed by Teo in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and on Sept. 22 and Nov. 3, 2007, they were brought by their agents to the office of Pen Travel and Tours in Pasay City.
They said a man named Homer and a woman named Jenny briefed them on what they were going to do inside the Centennial Airport Terminal on the day of their departure. With the alleged connivance with immigration officer identified only as Glazy, the duo managed to leave for Singapore as tourists.
Abused and starved
When they reached Singapore, they were met by an agent who assigned them to work as domestic helpers.
Immediately after they started working, their troubles also began. They were given not enough food, forced to work longer working hours, and were bit paid their salaries for six months. After enduring six months of suffering in Singapore, they returned to the Philippines and filed a complaint with the NBI.
In their investigation, NBI probers found that Teo and his cohorts were not licensed to recruit workers for overseas employment.
Through constant monitoring and surveillance, NBI managed to document the illegal activities of the suspects.
According to Special Investigator Darwin Francisco, they noted that Pen Travel Tours Inc. used a Hyundai Wagon (ZJD-406) in transporting trafficked persons to the airport on Jan. 19, 2009.
They also received information that Teo, Capistrano and Acaso will recruit and conduct interview on applicants on the house of Acaso in San del Monte, Bulacan on Tuesday..
At 5 p.m. of that day, NBI agents swooped down on the suspects as they were interviewing applicant Roche Teves and job seekers were filling out application forms for employment of Roland Employment Agency.
The suspects were brought to the Department of Justice on Wednesday for inquest for charges for violation of the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003 and Syndicated Illegal Recruitment, both non-bailable offenses.