The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday filed criminal charges against the alleged illegal recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) on death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking.
In an 18-page resolution, the Justice department found probable cause against Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, and their alleged cohort, alias Ike, reportedly an African who allegedly handed illegal drugs to Veloso for delivery to Jakarta.
The Indonesian government has temporarily called off the OFW’s execution in light of claims of the defense that she was tricked into becoming a “mule” for the alleged illegal recruiters
The recruiters were charged for qualified trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa and will be indicted before the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC).
The resolution, dated July 6, was signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon.
It was also signed and approved by Assistant Senior State Prosecutor Elizabeth Santos and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
The case was filed with the DOJ by the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Human Trafficking Division last April on the basis of a complaint from Veloso’s family.
Sergio and Lacanilao are detained by virtue of arrest warrants issued by the RTC for previous charges of large-scale illegal recruitment by other complainants.
The warrants of arrest were issued by Presiding Judge Nelson Tribiana of the Baloc, Santo . Domingo, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 37 on May 14, 2015.
Sergio and Lacanilao will be arraigned on July 21.
In the case of illegal recruitment, they were charged for violating the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, which defines an illegal recruiter as a non-licensee or non-holder of a valid license or authority to recruit under the Labor Code of the Philippines.
Lacanilao admitted that he had introduced Veloso to Sergio, who then assured Veloso a job as a domestic helper in Malaysia.
“The detailed narration of complainant Veloso that it was respondent Sergio who promised her a domestic helper job in Malaysia with a monthly salary of P25,000 proves convincingly that respondents committed the imputed offense,” the DOJ resolution read.
In the estafa case, probable cause was found against Sergio and Lacanilao for “defraud[ing]another by false pretenses or fraudulent acts.”