MANILA, Philippines—A man in Manila fell prey to illegal recruiters and lost P150,000 after trusting the referral of his cousin who turned out to be an alleged accomplice of the bogus recruitment agency, police said.
Manolito Reyes lost the amount after he paid it to All Overseas International Placement Co. Inc. in the hopes of landing a job as a mechanical engineer in Palau. Police said that Reyes was told that the amount would cover the fee for processing his documents so he could work in the Pacific island nation.
In an entrapment operation on Friday, police arrested Novie Villaflor, an employee of the agency, inside their company’s office at Gedisco Terraces Building in Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, at around 3 p.m., after she asked Reyes to pay an additional P5,000 to reprocess his documents when he was barred from leaving the country on Jan. 23.
Villaflor’s colleagues April Catane and Tin Dolendo remain at large.
According to PO3 Jayjay Jacob, Reyes was referred to the recruitment agency, ran by Catane, by his cousin Alberto Roy. Earlier this month, Roy, who was allegedly part of the modus, introduced the 48-year-old victim to Villaflor.
Jacob said the victim first went to the recruitment agency’s office on Jan. 6 to pay the P150,000 processing fee. He was then told by Villaflor’s colleagues that he would enter Palau as a tourist and would be met by his employer, a certain Shinji Chibana, in the airport.
He added that since that meeting, Reyes went back to the agency’s office thrice to ask when he would leave because the promised departure date was always rescheduled. On his third visit, Dolendo gave the victim his supposed processed documents and United Airlines plane ticket, scheduled to depart on Jan. 23.
At Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Reyes was barred by airport immigration officers from leaving the country after it was found out that his documents were fake.