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Lawyer twits ‘dismissal’ of illegal recruitment case

By LITO RULONA,
Correspondent

THE Legal counsel of the 13 workers who asked for immediate repatriation has accused officials of the Philippine School of Science and Technology (PSST) as responsible for his clients’ alleged illegal recruitment and human trafficking in Malaysia.

Lawyer James Judith told reporters during the press conference held at Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) on Tuesday that based on the evidence presented by workers who were sent to Malaysia and the new batch of complainants, have pinpointed the school officials who recruited them.

Dili man kini mahitabo kung wala ang participation sa eskwelahan. Ang eskwelahan ang bantang og didto sa ila nahitabo ang krimen. Sila ang nag-introduce sa ilang partner didto sa mga estudyante,” he said.

He said the illegal recruitment cases have been reportedly dismissed by the City Prosecutor’s Office despite strong evidence presented by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the investigating agency, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“We only need prima facie evidence. The proof is that they lured the students to enroll in exchange to a job abroad. Ang eskwelahan ang naglihok ani. Ang ilang kahimanan ang gigamit sa training and then didto pa gyud nahitabo ang meeting and job orientation,” Judith pointed out.

Judith said it is highly questionable when the prosecutor’s office accepted the claim of the school officials that they are innocent of the crime considering that the victims claimed that all transactions were initiated by the school officials.

Judith said initial report reaching to them, there are about 300 students that were reportedly victimized and assured of a job abroad. Students sent to Malaysia were offered a salary of P17 thousand each per month, excluding the overtime pay, with free food and accommodation. They were told to avail a loan for them to pay the placement fee of P35 thousand but in the reality were only paid P8 thousand per month for more than 12 hours of work.

According to the complainants, there were several group of students and were categorized to each area of destination. 90 students for Japan; 34 students for Korea; 15 students for Macau; 18 students for Malaysia; 57 students for Australia; 3 students for Fiji island and unaccounted number of students for Germany.

No official statement was issued by the school officials regarding the complaint.

Meanwhile, caused-oriented group, Tubaga Movement and Gabriela had asked City Prosecutor’s Office (CPO) to review the cases filed before their office related to the case of Philippine School of Science and Technology (PSST) school officials who were charged for illegal recruitment and human trafficking.

Tubaga Movement convenor Lalae Garcia said that they will seek immediate intervention for the possible review of cases filed before the prosecutor’s office.

“They might call us bias but justice must be served equally to the victims. We will seek immediate review and motion for reconsideration must be filed. We will also pray that the case would be transfer to the Regional State Prosecutor (RSP) task force,” she said.

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About Lito Rulona

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Lito Rulona is a veteran newspaperman and broadcaster who covered many of the biggest stories in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Northern Mindanao since the early 90s.

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