MANILA, Philippines – Where is Rosalie Pascual, a supposed victim of Maria Cristina Sergio, an alleged illegal recruiter said to be part of an illegal international drug syndicate?
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Anti-Human Trafficking Division chief Eric Nuqui said on Friday, May 8, that the relatives of Pascual, supposedly recruited by Sergio to work in Bahrain, reported she has gone missing.
Sergio has been accused of illegally recruiting and duping Mary Jane Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker now on death row, into unwittingly smuggling heroin into Indonesia. She was convicted in October 2010 after 2.6 kilos of heroin were found in her luggage upon arrival at the Yogyakarta airport.
Pascual was reportedly recruited by Sergio and had left for Bahrain on April 28, the day before Veloso’s scheduled execution by firing squad. She has not been heard from since.
The family of Pascual is among the 3 complainants in the illegal recruitment case that the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed before the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Friday.
Nuqui said the NBI is working with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Pascual’s case so that she can be reunited with her family. The bureau is also coordinating with foreign counterparts on the case of Sergio and her partner, Julius Lacanilao who are both in custody.
In a two-page affidavit, Pascual’s sister Daisy de Luna said that after she heard about Veloso’s case, she feared for the safety of her sister who was also recruited by Sergio.
In her affidavit, De Luna said they were worried “dahil hindi na namin siya nakakausap o nako-contact mula nung umalis siya sa Pilipinas (because we never spoke with her or contacted her since she left the Philippines).”
Their brother, Danilo Viscarra, who is working in Saudi Arabia, had tried to dissuade Rosalie from leaving to work in Bahrain, as he had heard about horror stories from fellow OFWs, especially women, there.
But because Sergio had allegedly warned Rosalie that she would have to pay P20,000 if she backed out, Rosalie decided to push through with it.
Sergio and Lacanilao were indicted before the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) for violation of Section 6 of Republic Act (RA) 8042 or large-scale illegal recruitment, which is a non-bailable offense.
“Finally, with the existence of the three (3) complainants filed by Lorna Valino, Ana Marie Gonzales, and Jenalyn Paraiso, it is beyond dispute that the illegal recruitment undertaken by both respondents are committed in large scale. Hence, the charges against them should be qualified,” the 18-page resolution penned by Assistant State Prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa said.
The DOJ had ruled that both Sergio and Lacanilao should undergo preliminary investigation with respect to the human trafficking and estafa complaints filed against them since the other complainants failed to subscribe to their respective affidavits.
The preliminary investigation was set for 2 pm Friday. – Rappler.com