Police on Tuesday raided a recruitment agency in Manila for allegedly operating despite being suspended by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), reports said.
A report on GMA News TV's QRT said operatives of the Manila Police District-Police Intelligence and Operation Unit arrested the employees at the Rochart Global Resource Center following an entrapment operation in Malate.
Documents from DOLE and POEA revealed that the agency was suspended for lacking necessary documents for operation despite having a POEA license number printed on its office sign.
"Wala na silang karapatan na anumang dokumento na mag-process, tumanggap. At the same time, hino-hostage nila 'yung mga pasaporte ng mga tao at pinatutubos nila sa halagang gusto nila," MPD-DPIOU Chief Sr. Insp. Rosalino Ibay said in a separate report on "24 Oras".
Despite its suspension, Rochart allegedly still processed applications from jobseekers and was caught accepting the marked money given by one applicant who was part of the police operation.
Most of the victims said they were never sent abroad despite being promised jobs in Saudi Arabia for an entire year. Some were even forced to live at the office while waiting for deployment.
"Imbes na pambili ng pagkain ng mga anak ko eh pinapamasahe ko pa papunta rito. Pinaasa ako sa wala," said one victim.
Rochart officials and employees will face charges of illegal recruitment and additional counts of violating the anti-human trafficking law for confining two of their recruits within the office. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News