Nationwide manhunt on for trafficker; Victimized teachers question court’s issuance of release order despite numerous pending cases vs. accused

wanted isidroA group of teachers victimized by an elaborate trafficking scheme today launched a manhunt for their trafficker after he was released from detention following the dismissal of a case against him by the Makati Regional Trial Court.

GURO, or “Grupo ng mga Gurong Umuusig kay Rodriguez”, bewailed the Makati RTC’s release order for trafficker Isidro L. Rodriguez, dated April 14, on grounds that the first batch of teachers who filed an estafa and illegal recruitment in large scale against him failed to appear as witnesses in court.

GURO represents at least 200 teachers who were victimized by Rodriguez. Rodriguez, through his agency Renaissance Staffing Support Center (formerly Great Provider Service Exporters, which is licensed by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration), was able to dupe hundreds of teachers by offering them fictitious jobs in the United States. Rodriguez was able to collect an average of P500,000 from each of his victims. He recruited teachers in batches, with each batch consisting of about 10 to 15victims. Migrante International is currently aware of at least 20 batches who have filed cases against him.

Some of the teachers were able to leave the country, only to realize that no jobs awaited them in the US. The US-based teachers have already filed human trafficking cases against Rodriguez in the US and have been granted T-Visas (trafficked visas) by US courts. Meanwhile,majority of the teachers remain in the country and only learned about Rodriguez’ treachery when he was arrested last November 2013. The Philippine-based teachers have filed case upon case of estafa and illegal recruitment in large scale against Rodriguez et al, while two batches have already filed trafficking in persons cases against him.

GURO questioned the Makati RTC’s dismissal of the first case, “People of the Philippines versus Isidro L.Rodriguez, docketed criminal case nos. 13-2830 to 13-2834”. According to Engelyn Belmonte, spokesperson of GURO, they learned that the first batch of teacher-complainants came into settlement with Rodriguez. “While this may be true and is very unfortunate, we fail to see the logic and justice behind the release order when the Makati RTC, the PNP-CIDG and the Department of Justice are fully aware that there are numerous other pending cases against Rodriguez,”Belmonte said.

Belmonte added that they are deeply saddened by Rodriguez’ release. “How can we be expected to have faith in our justice system with this development? We are fully aware of Rodriguez’ very broad clout in different government agencies, even possibly in the US and PH immigration, he could not have operated for years without them. Does this mean that Rodriguez is also powerful in the judiciary?”

Rodriguez remains at large as of thi sposting. He was expected to appear before the DOJ today in the hearing of the trafficking case against him but failed to attend.

Last May 10, the US-based trafficked teachers held a protest action to condemn Rodriguez’ release. They have also already informed the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to file an alert at the Interpol so that he may be held in any airport should he attempt to leave the country. The PH-based teachers have also filed a request for a look out order against Rodriguez at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.

“We call on our fellow teachers and all labor and human rights advocates to join us in the manhunt for Rodriguez and our quest for justice. We cannot allow him to victimize other innocent teachers. Justice must be served,” Belmonte said.

For any information about Rodriguez,please contact Migrante International through landline number 9114910 or mobile number 0921-2709079. ###