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Darvin v Court of Appeals G.R. No.

125044 July 13, 1998

Imelda Darvin was convicted of simple illegal recruitment under Labor Code by RTC. It stemmed from a complaint of Macaria Toledo. They met
in 1992 in Darvins residence thru common friends. It was there when Toledo who was convinced by P that she has authority to recruit workers
for abroad and can facilitate the necessary papers in connection thereof. Macaria gave her P150,000 supposedly intended for US Visa and air fare.
Toledo gave Darvin the money, as evidenced by a receipt stating that the amount given was for US visa and Air fare. There was no word from
Darvin after a week, thus leading Toledo to file a complaint.
Further investigation certified that Darvin is not licensed nor authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment. Darvin was then
charged for estafa and illegal recruitment, but accused appellant alleged that she was not engaged in illegal recruitment and was merely acting as
a travel agent in assisting individuals to secure passports and visa.

TC: convicted Darvin of simple illegal recruitment, but acquitted her of estafa
CA: affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto, hence this petition.

ISSUE: WON appellant Darvin is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal recruitment. --NO

Art. 13 of Labor Code provides definition of recruitment and placement as:
x x x b.) any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers and includes referrals, contract services,
promising or advertising for employment locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, that any reason person or entity which, in any
manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.

Art. 38 of the Labor Code provides:

a.) Any recruitment activities, including the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 43 of the Labor Code, to be undertaken by non-
licensees or non-holders of authority shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code.

To uphold the conviction of accused-appellant, two elements need to be shown:

(1) the person charged with the crime must have undertaken recruitment activities; and
(2) the said person does not have a license or authority to do so.

Following the ruling in the case of People v. Goce, to prove that accused-appellant was engaged in recruitment activities as to commit the crime
of illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accused appellant gave private respondent the distinct impression that she had the power
or ability to send the private respondent abroad for work such that the latter was convinced to part with her money in order to be employed.

In this case, the Court found no sufficient evidence to prove that accused-appellant offered a job to R. It is not clear that accused gave the
impression that she was capable of providing the private respondent work abroad. What is established, however, is that the private respondent
gave accused-appellant P150k.
By themselves, procuring a passport, airline tickets and foreign visa for another individual, without more, can hardly qualify as
recruitment activities. Aside from the testimony of R, there is nothing to show that appellant engaged in recruitment activities.
What could the prosecution have done? Present testimonies of witnesses who could have corroborated the charge.
There was nothing else aside from the testimony of Toleda that shows Darvin was involved in recruitment activities. There is thus
reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. At best, the evidence proffered by the prosecution only goes so far as to create a suspicion that
accused-appellant probably perpetrated the crime charged. But suspicion alone is insufficient, the required quantum of evidence being proof
beyond reasonable doubt. When the Peoples evidence fail to indubitably prove the accuseds authorship of the crime of which he stand accused,
then it is the Courts duty, and the accuseds right, to proclaim his innocence.

WHEREFORE, appeal is hereby granted and the decision of the CA is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant is hereby ACQUITTED on
ground of reasonably doubt. The accused is ordered immediately released from her confinement.