RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A Filipino couple is allegedly using jobless kababayans to earn money by setting them up to be arrested by authorities.
The modus operandi of the couple only identified as "Marlon" and "Mylene" was revealed by the Filipino Sports Organization in Riyadh after two of their members were victimized.
"Isa lang po ang lagi nilang sinasabi, yong pangalan po ng Marlon, Mylene, yun po ang mag-asawang nagpahuli sa kanila, sinet-up po sila," said "Carla".
According to the group, the couple's modus involves calling jobless victims and offering them high-paying jobs. Once the victim agrees, the couple will set an appointment for their "interview" with the alleged prospective employer.
But instead of employers, authorities show up to immediately arrest them on the day of the said interview.
The group learned that the couple gets paid for every person they turn over to authorities. However, it was not immediately clear who actually pays the couple.
Another Filipino only identified as "Carlo" claimed that his friend was also arrested and charged with prostitution.
"May tumawag sa kanya na ayun nga binigay doon sa isang kaibigan din niya, na inilapit sa mag-asawang yun para sa interview. Yun nga sumama siya doon, nagsama pa ng mga kasama kasi marami pa ngang hinahanap," he said.
In June, six women who were called for an interview, landed in jail. Four more were arrested the following month.
"Yung mga nakulong na yun, apat na nakulong na yun mga kaibigan ko. Yung isa best friend ko yun as in parang kapatid," said Rodel.
The group decided to report the couple's illegal activities to the embassy. They hope the embassy will issue a warning to overseas Filipino workers against the couple and their modus operandi.
"Sa embassy, isinubmit ko lahat ng sulat ng mga biktimang ito, including ito ng kaibigan ko at yong mga nauna pang naging biktima," said "Darwin".
Filipinos now wonder where and how the couple managed to get hold of their phone numbers to contact them.
"Sa isip-isip ko, sabi ko, hindi naman ako teacher, mananahi naman ako, kaya tinanong ko sa kanya kung saan nya nakuha ang number ko," said Mira. Report from Roland Blanco, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau correspondent