NBI Central Visayas arrests alleged large-scale illegal recruiters in Cebu

John Sitchon

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

NBI Central Visayas arrests alleged large-scale illegal recruiters in Cebu

OPERATION. A screenshot of the video footage sent by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas to reporters on Wednesday, May 15 during an entrapment operation showed recruiters on a table meant for "vlogging" of applicants looking for employment in Australia.

NBI Central Visayas

The alleged illegal recruiters make victims pay a 'vlogging fee' of P500, and film them while pretend to be local farmers

CEBU, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) announced the arrest of nine alleged large-scale illegal recruiters who victimized around 1,000 overseas work applicants.

NBI-7 Regional Director Renan Oliva told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday, May 15, that the perpetrators were arrested in an entrapment operation on Sunday, May 12, during a “recruitment activity” held at a beach resort in Barangay Pooc, Talisay City.

The arrested include Alice Rondez, Cristina Arcilla, Glenard Musngi, Leon Allegado, Elisa Toñacao, Lemuel Ahito, Levert Fuentes, Librada Jumanguin, and Jocelyn Resaba.

“This operation originated from the complaints of around 40 victims…. The complaints of the victims started [coming in] September of 2023,” Oliva said.

Based on the victims’ testimonies and a surveillance operation conducted on April 20, the investigation bureau discovered that the group led by Rondez collected fees from victims during seminars, promising employment as coconut and mango plantation workers in Australia.

Oliva said that multiple seminars were previously conducted in the towns of Asturias, Tuburan, Balamban, Lapu-Lapu City, and Talisay City in the province of Cebu. 

The regional director said there were 983 recruited in three batches in Tuburan, 200 in Asturias, and around 108 in Talisay City.

NBI-7 Special Investigator Florante Gaoiran said that, during the recruitment process, victims would pay P1,500 for the seminar, P500 for t-shirts, P100 for an entrance fee, and P500 for a vlogging fee.

“After payment for the vlogging fee, they will be made to wear a [straw] hat and read a printed narration while being filmed. It was allegedly for the purpose of sending these recordings to the employers in Australia,” Gaoiran said.

Clothing, Hat, Tripod
VLOGGING. The paraphernalia and equipment used in recorded application videos, where applicants are made to pretend to be local farmers. John Sitchon/Rappler

According to Oliva, the arrested individuals went through inquest proceedings at the Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, May 14. They will be facing charges of large-scale and syndicated illegal recruitment. 

False promises

Leonardo Sedurifa, 58, and Perly Tumbiga, 45, were led to believe that they were going to get a job that paid around P2,000 per hour in Australia. After attending multiple seminars with the recruiters, it never happened.

“After months, marami na silang tawag at text na mag-recruit daw kami, tapos dalhin dito, so naisip ko na ito ay isang scam,” Sedurifa said. (After months, they called us many times and texted us to recruit more people and bring them here, so I thought that this was a scam.)

Sedurifa said he was recruited on March 22 along with more than 300 applicants.

“Ang pangako nila ay pupunta daw kami sa Australia, malaki ang sahod, buwan-buwan may pera. Kasi dito sa Cebu, medyo gipit na…. Sabi ko, kailan? Sabi nila, ‘pag tawagan na kami,” Sedurifa said.

(Their promise was that we would go to Australia, the salaries would be high, every month there would be money. You see, it’s scarce here in Cebu…. I asked when, and they they would just call us.)

Tumbiga, who used to be an overseas worker in Qatar, told reporters that she realized it was a scam when the recruiters informed them that 3,000 applicants would be able to go to Australia some time in May or June.

“Ang sinabi ng team leader namin, kapag maabot ang 3,000, makaalis agad,” Tumbiga said. (Our team leader told us that, if we reached 3,000, we would be flying out.)

This served as an incentive to recruit more people into the scheme.

Not authorized

Based on a certification from the Department of Migrant Workers, the arrested individuals are not authorized to recruit individuals for employment abroad.

Gaoiran said the accused used the name of a certain recruitment agency that is only licensed to process student visas. 

The special investigator said the management of the said agency was not aware of the activities being conducted by Rondez, who was their former employee.

“As far as our investigation has disclosed, Alice Rondez is now conducting her recruitment activities on her own with her associates,” Gaoiran said.

The recruiters are detained at the NBI-7 regional office in Cebu City.

The NBI-7 will be filing additional complaints against the recruiters in courts whose jurisdiction covers the locations where the recruitment operations took place. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!