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Tribunal dumps refund claim vs Labatt, Emry’s

02 December 2016

A money claim filed by an employer against the owner of Emry’s Service Staff Employment Agency and Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre was dismissed on Nov. 25 when none of the parties showed up for the hearing at the Small Claims Tribunal.

Claimant Lee Chun Hyung was a no-show, along with de la Torre and Emry’s co-owner Rick Ylagan.
Adjudicator Anthony Chow ordered the case dismissed “for want of prosecution”.

Ylagan is the registered owner of Emry’s along with his son, Ridge Michael. His estranged wife, Ester, who was the co-owner until July this year, is facing a total claim of more than $2 million from hundreds of Filipino domestic workers who were allegedly duped into paying placement fees for bogus jobs in Britain and Canada.

Acting on the complaint by the maids, Labatt dela Torre ordered the suspension of the processing of work contracts by Emry’s, which used to be the biggest recruiter of Filipino domestic workers into Hong Kong.

The suspension order eventually resulted into Emry’s being shut down. Ester Ylagan then wrote a letter to the agency’s employer clients, pinning the blame on Emry’s sudden closure on de la Torre.
Dozens of employers who had paid Emry’s for the processing of their maids’ contracts had filed refund claims, with most winning their cases. To date, however, not a single claimant has apparently managed to get his or her money back.

Contacted by The SUN on the case, Labatt dela Torre appeared unaware of the case.

But he said: “It’s a no-brainer because I was performing my duty and it was all a a part of Emry’s scheme to harass POLO and to smokescreen (Ester Ylagan’s) scam which had victimized hundreds of our workers. Shame on her,” the labor official said.

Earlier, however, he admitted receiving summons for a hearing last month. He said then that he had consulted Consul General Bernardita Catalla about the case, even as he knew he had immunity from prosecution over acts done in performance of his official duty.

Meanwhile, two more domestic workers claiming $10,000 each from Ylagan were again made to do what most other claimants before them had done: amend Ester Ylagan’s address, and add her other company. Mike’s Secretarial Services in the complaint.
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Sheila Cobol and Kathylene Pearl Andaya were both told that the summonses for Ylagan could not be served at her previously known address.

About 200 similar complaints are still pending before the Tribunal. Most cases have been consolidated, with the Mission for Migrant Workers being assigned as representative for most of the claimants.

Ylagan has not appeared in any of the hearings, which commenced in August this year.
Her representative said the defendant was in the Philippines for an eye surgery, and later, was said to be undergoing psychiatric counseling. – Vir B. Lumicao

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