An alleged big-time illegal recruiter who has duped over 200 jobseekers into paying thousands of pesos for fake jobs abroad was arrested by the police on Wednesday, a report on "24 Oras" said.
In his report, GMA News' Oscar Oida said Osmando Nivero Habilag is among the most notorious illegal recruiters in the country based on the list of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The report said Habilag has carted away P10 million to P15 million from his victims after promising them jobs in Japan and New Zealand.
"Na-convince po kami kasi, yun nga, may kakilala siya na pinsan sa POEA. In-offeran ako ng [trabahong] butcher sa New Zealand. P180,000 yung magiging sahod ko dun," one victim said.
"Ako, valet driver po ako sa isang hotel daw sa Japan. Nag-verify ako sa employer na binigay niya [pero] negative. Wala pa ho yung building na yun, tinatayo pa lang, under construction," sharedd another victim, who said he lost P55,000 to Habilag.
The report said Habilag used social media to lure in victims, particularly those in the provinces. In Davao, he victimized over 100 people.
Habilag denied the accusation against him and pointed to a certain Alex Navarro, who he described as a friend who convinced him to recruit.
"Ako ang naiipit kasi unang-una, opisina ko yung pinupuntahan ng mga tao. Nagsara kami ng pilit kasi unang-una, sa takot ko na death threat," he said, adding he has remitted P5 million to Navarro.
"Ginawa mong miserable yung buhay ko. Halos isang linggo akong tago ng tago dahil sa 'yo," Habilag said, referring to Navarro.
The Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has confirmed that an arrest warrant has been issued against Alex Navarro for illegal recruitment.
The CIDG, however, said Habilag should explain his use of aliases and fake IDs.
"Ito ay karagdagang kaso rin itong ibang-ibang pangalan niya rito. Ipapasampa ko na rin ng kaso yung ginawa niya rito, concealing of true names," said Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia Jr. of CIDG's Anti-Transnational Crimes Unit, in the report. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News