Counsel belies claims of illegal recruitment by school officials
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, June 1 (PNA) -– The legal counsel for the Philippine School of Science and Technology (PSST) here, on Wednesday belied the accusation that the technical school was engaged in large scale illegal recruitment in Northern Mindanao.
Lawyer Jerome Jarales said that Jessie Cunahap, the head of the Jespher Travel Tours and Visa Consultancy, should be blamed for allegedly swindling the school’s former students who were promised work abroad.
Jarales accused Cunahap and the travel agency of deceiving the PSST into signing an agreement where the travel agency would act as the recruitment agency of the graduates of the technical school.
He said that with the agreement, Cunahap visited the PSST campus here in the later part of 2014 to conduct a series of orientations to students who were enticed of alleged employment in Japan, Australia, Korea, Macau, Malaysia and Fiji.
Jarales said that Cunahap collected as much as Php35,000 from every graduate who wanted to work abroad, which earned the travel agency an estimated Php2.271 million from 217 PSST students.
He said that the school did not earn from the arrangement, and in fact even paid for the Php10,000 surety bond of some students who were supposed to work in Japan.
It was sometime in January 2015 that the school sensed something was wrong when many students were not able to fly to their supposed overseas destination to work, Jarales said.
In March of that year, PSST cancelled its contract with the agency and subsequently filed 24 cases for illegal recruitment and estafa at the Regional Trial Court Branches 18 and 41 against Cunahap.
Jarales said the school somehow made reimbursements to some students on the condition that once the court orders Cunahap to pay up the students, a portion of that payment will be waived in favor of PSST.
He said that it was unfair for the school officials to be charged with large-scale syndicated illegal recruitment and syndicated estafa cases.
Charged were Amy Bendisula, Pamela Verda, Rodrigo Bendisula, and Rubelyn Llovia.
Of the four respondents, the police arrested Verda last May 20 on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Jeoffre Acebido of RTC-Branch 41. The other three school officials remained at large. (PNA)