OF THE PHILIPPINES,
G. R. No. 90017-18
March 1, 1994
VERANO y ABANES,
E C I S I O N
Elena Verano y
Abanes was convicted
of the crimes of illegal recruitment in large scale
in two  separate Informations
filed before the Regional Trial Court of Manila and sentenced thus:
[a] In Crim. Case No. 88-61017, this
the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal
in large scale as defined under par. [b] of Art. 38 in relation to Art.
39 of the New Labor Code of the Philippines; and this Court hereby
the said accused to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay
a fine of P100,000.00; and to pay to the offended parties, Arturo
and Alfonso Abanes, the sums of P10,000.00, and P7,150.00 respectively,
plus interest thereon at the legal rate of 12% per annum from the date
of filing of the Information on February 22, 1988. The damages due to
third offended party, Jose Daep, is taken care of in the estafa case,
[b] In Crim. Case No. 88-6108, the Court
the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa; and
this Court hereby sentences the accused to suffer an indeterminate
of six  years of prision correccional, maximum period, as minimum
to nine  years of prision mayor in its medium period, as
penalty, and to pay to Jose Daep, the sole complaining offended party
this case, the sum of P15,000.00 as actual damages plus interest
at the legal rate of P12% per annum from the date of filing of the
on February 22, 1988.
As found by the
trial court, sometime in October
1987, accused-appellant Elena Verano y Abanes persuaded the
 private complainants, Jose Daep, Arturo Espiel and Alfonso Abanes,
to accept overseas employment as salesmen in Bahrain. In consideration
thereof, Alfonso, Arturo and Jose were required to pay P10,000.00 each
to cover the expenses for the processing of their travel papers, i.e.,
passports, visas and the cost of their plane tickets, medical
and recruitment fees. Jose paid the total amount of P15,000.00, while
and Alfonso paid P10,000.00 and P7,150.00, respectively. They were
separate receipts by accused-appellant.
To further convince them of her capacity to send them abroad,
even signed a contract of employment with her as employer and Arturo as
Assured that they
could depart for Bahrain on
27 December 1987, Alfonso, Jose and Arturo went to the Ninoy Aquino
Airport and waited for accused-appellant who was supposed to meet them
there to deliver their passports, visas and plane tickets. When she
to show up, the three  recruits proceeded to her residence and there
waited for her until she returned four  days later. By way of
they were told that their passports and visas were still being
but were promised they were promised they could leave for their
jobs on 15 January 1988.cralaw
Again, the three
 hopefuls proceeded to the
NAIA but, like before, accused-appellant failed to show up. This time
were told that they could definitely leave on 13 February 1988.
on the appointed date and time, accused-appellant failed to show up for
the third time. Jose, Arturo and Alfonso then went to the Western
District Headquarters to lodge their complaint. Accused- appellant was
arrested on the same day and charged with illegal recruitment committed
in large scale, and estafa, with Jose Daep as the lone complainant in
latter case. After trial, Elena Verano y Abanes was found
in both cases.cralaw
In her brief
filed by the Public Attorney's Office,
accused-appellant contends that the trial court gravely erred when it
the penalty of life imprisonment for the large scale illegal
for the reason that it was too harsh in the light of her good faith in
just wanting to help the private complainants secure employment abroad.
However, in her Supplemental Brief and Reply
filed by her counsel de parte, Atty. Mariano R. de Joya, Jr.,
changed her position.
Instead of pursuing her attack on the "harshness" of the penalty
she now disputes the findings of fact. Thus she argues that, contrary
the trial court's findings, she never represented herself as having the
capacity to contract workers for overseas employment; that she merely
private complainants, Jose, Arturo and Alfonso, to a certain Juliet
who was the one who claimed to have such capacity; and, with respect to
her conviction for estafa, she argues that although she herself issued
the receipts marked Exhs. "C," "E," "E-1," "E-2" and "H," she never
from the money paid as it was all given to and personally received by
argument is obviously without merit
in the light of the well-settled doctrine that findings of fact made by
the trial court are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on
Except for a few recognized instances,
which do not apply in the case at bench, such findings are binding and
will not be reviewed by Us for this Court is not a trier of facts. The
issues raised by appellant are purely and undisputably factual, as she
Considering that none of the exceptions apply, as aforesaid, We would
be justified in reversing the judgment of conviction. Hence, the appeal
Decision of the Court a quo
convicting accused-appellant Elena Verano y Abanes of the crimes of
recruitment committed in large scale [Crim. Case No. 88-61017] and
[Crim. Case No. 88-61018] is affirmed in toto. Costs against
Jr., Quiason and Kapunan, JJ.,
Decision penned by Judge Sabino R. de Leon, Jr., Regional Trial Court,
Br. 28, Manila; Rollo, pp. 26-36.
Art. 38. Illegal Recruitment. - [a] Any recruitment activities,
including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of this
Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority,
be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of this Code. The
of Labor and Employment or any law enforcement officer may initiate
under this Article.
[b] Illegal recruitment
committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an
involving economic sabotage and shall be penalized in accordance with
39 hereof. Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if
out by a group of three  or more persons conspiring and/or
with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal transaction,
or scheme defined under the first paragraph hereof. Illegal recruitment
is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three  or
persons individually or as agroup.
39. Penalties. -
[a] The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of one hundred thousand
pesos [P100,000] shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes
By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power,
qualification, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary
or by means of other similar deceits [Art. 315, Par. (a), Revised Penal
Docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 88-61017 and 88-61018, respectively.
Exhs. "C," "E," "E-1," E-2" and "H."
Rollo, p. 46.
Id., pp. 78-87.
Supplemental Brief and Reply, p. 1; Rollo, p. 78.
Surban vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 98457, 1 March 1993, 219 SCRA
312; Donato vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 102603, 18 January 1993,
SCRA 196, 203; Paulmitan vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 61584, 25
1992, 215 SCRA 866, 875; People vs. Bechayda, G. R. No. 72001, 7 August
1992, 212 SCRA 336, 348; People vs. Pajares, G. R. No. 96444, 23 June
210 SCRA 237, 244; People vs. Diga, G. R. No. 94546, 24 April 1992, 208
SCRA 306, 315; De Ocsio vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 44237, 28
1989, 170 SCRA 729, 732; People vs. Raquinio, No. L-16488, 12 August
17 SCRA 914, 917-918.
 When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations;
 When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
 Where there is grave abuse of discretion;  When the judgment is
based on a misapprehension of facts; and,  When the court, in making
its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are
to the admissions of both appellant and appellee [People vs. Rivera, G.
R. No. 86491, 11 December 1992, 216 SCRA 363, 374].
Supplemental Brief and Reply, p. 2; Rollo, p. 79.