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DH’s overcharging case vs. agency staff faces dim prospect

25 May 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Defendant Filipina is accused of collecting $4,450 in illegal commission

A Filipina maid told the Eastern Court at a trial today, May 25, that an employment agency associate had collected a total of $4,450 from her as placement fee.

But Rosita Javier’s case looked lost, as Magistrate Dick Lee rejected the only two pieces of prosecution evidence to link Glenda Beranda to the alleged overcharging of commission.  

These were a business card with the name “Glenda” and a license renewal form that Beranda, an associate of Bandung Enterprises, filed in 2018.   

Pindutin para sa detalye

The magistrate reserved his verdict until May 27, and extended Beranda’s bail until then.

Javier, key prosecution witness in an overcharging case against Beranda, said she was told she could not sign up with a new employer unless she paid $4,000 to Glenda.

The amount was apart from the 10% from her first month’s salary that she had to pay Bandung as commission for finding her a job, Javier said.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

The job applicant said that on a day in September 2018, she went to the Causeway Bay office of Bandung and approached a staff named “Glenda” to help her find an employer.

Glenda got an employer who agreed to sign up Javier. In turn, Javier said she requested that she be allowed to pay Glenda $2,000 first, and then settle balance when she had received her first salary.

Glenda agreed but did not give Javier a receipt or a copy of the contract.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

The applicant flew home on Sept 27, 2018, and waited for a work visa there. On Jan 15, she flew back to Hong Kong after receiving her new work visa.

Javier said she went straight to Bandung and paid Glenda Php9,000. Glenda allegedly took her contract and passport, telling her she could have them back when she was done paying.

On Jan 17, 2019, Javier was fetched by her employer. On Feb 17 that year, she went to Bandung to settle her payment to Glenda, and got back her passport and contract.  

The prosecutor tried to ask Javier if Glenda was in the courtroom but the defense lawyer objected. As his client declined to join an identity parade last year, he said there was doubt as to whether the one in the dock was the same Glenda who overcharged Javier.

The lawyer also said Beranda’s statement to police was not cautioned, thus inadmissible.

When asked what other evidence the prosecution could offer, the prosecutor submitted a copy of the name card that bore the name Glenda, but the defense also challenged that, saying it did not positively connect his client to the case.

The magistrate agreed. “How can I rely on that?... I think you have a very difficult case,” he told the prosecutor. “There are many Glendas in the world, even among Filipinos.”

The prosecution said the telephone number on the card matched Beranda’s phone number. But when Lee asked her if she checked the number, she said no.

The prosecutor presented the license renewal of Bandung that Beranda filed at the Labour Department. She called labour officer Ng Hon-hei officer who signed the document, to testify.

After Ng’s evidence, Lee asked how the document could pin down Beranda, even if the witness said he had “reasonable suspicion but needed stronger evidence” to link her.

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