Illegal recruiter who victimized over 200 OFWs, arrested

The PNP Anti-Transnational Crime Unit of the PNP CIDG arrested 63-year old Osmando Habilag Jr during an entrapment operation. He is the primary suspect in a large-scale illegal recruitment activities who allegedly victimized over 200 aspiring OFW’s who are mostly from Davao City.

PCI Roque Merdegia Jr. “They were asked 150-350k limited slot, bilateral agreement and first come first serve basis, so every one wants to be first.”

One of the victims, alias Mike, gave 170 thousand pesos as he was promised by Habilag to work in New Zealand as a butcher in just 1 to 2 months.

Mike said “We were told to appear at the POEA. We were looking for them there. Our names are not in their record. We decided to file a complaint against him.”

Another victim, alias John, was also dismayed as he was promised that he could work at a hotel in Japan. To speed up the process, he was asked to pay 55 thousand pesos as placement fee.

John said “The employer is negative. The building is still under construction. They took 55k from me. I borrowed the money with 20% interest until now I’m paying for the interest.”

According to the CIDG, the suspects took away around 10 to 11 million pesos from the victims. However, Habilag denied the allegations and insisted that he was just victimized by Alejandro “Alex” Navarro.

Habilag said “Alex, face the truth, you ruined me. My child cries every night. I don’t know why you’re doing this to me. I can’t remember anything bad that I did to you. Have mercy on my family.”

The authorities have confirmed that Habilag sent money to Navarro based on the receipts of the remittance transactions recovered from the suspect. But these are not proof that Habilag was just a victim. Fake ID’s were also recovered from Habilag which have different names. He will be charged with large-scale estafa, illegal recruitment, and concealing true name which violates Presidential Decree 1829.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group or CIDG continues its nationwide manhunt operation against illegal recruiter Alejandro Navarro who has an outstanding warrant of arrest on charges of illegal recruitment.

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