In three separate statements to queries by DAILY TRIBUNE, the Italian Embassy in Manila confirmed that the nulla osta or mother work permit number, which is said to have been attached by Alpha Assistenza SRL to the papers of Filipino job applicants to Italy, was bogus.

Mincing no words, the embassy described the consultants behind Alpha Assistenza, who allegedly scammed over 200 jobseekers of 3,000 to 5,000 euros each, as “predatory.” It went on to warn Filipinos who want to work in Italy to do due diligence to avoid being conned.

Going by the tone of its statements, the embassy found it hard to believe that so many Filipinos, including those who wanted to sponsor their relatives in coming to Italy, fell for the ruse purportedly perpetrated by the couple Krizelle Respicio and Frederick Dutaro.

At one point, having determined that close to 200 visa applications had the same fake nulla osta, the embassy said it asked its local visa servicing firm, PIASI, to stop accepting similar applications.

The embassy then informed the relevant Italian agencies of the scam with the intent to prosecute those perpetrators who were within Italian jurisdiction.

We can surmise that Italy, like the Philippines, penalizes criminally the falsification of public documents. Then, it may also have a parallel law to our own estafa, which is failure to deliver a promised good or service after payment was already made.

Meanwhile, an Italian lawyer sued Respicio and Dutaro for making it appear on Alpha Assistenza online platforms that he was connected to or working for the latter. The lawyer appeared on DAILY TRIBUNE’s Usapang OFW to say that his complaint would have resulted in suspending Respicio’s and Dutaro’s residence permits in Italy.

Respicio, this week, appeared at the Department of Justice to say that she was not hiding and to deny the claims of the so-called Alpha 400 “victims” that she and Dutaro had scammed them of their hard-earned money amounting to from P185,850 to P298,543 each.

A co-CEO of Dutaro at Alpha Assistenza, Respicio, who had claimed closeness with Philippine Consul General to Milan Elmer Cato, went to the DoJ after several job seekers filed complaints against them.

It remains to be seen whether Respicio and Dutaro, possibly unable to return to Italy because of the complaints they are facing there, would also choose to stay in Manila to face the music here, so to speak.

It would be in their best interest, as well as that of Consul General Cato, not to make themselves scarce when the Senate, on the resolutions filed by Senators Risa Hontiveros and Raffy Tulfo, probes the alleged scam.

Tulfo, whose statement branded the brouhaha the “Italian Job” as in the movie about a gold bar heist, called for a probe on the closeness of Respicio and Cato as alleged by several players in this unfolding drama.

Cato’s office, in a statement on Thursday that attached a clip of a 7 September Usapang OFW episode, said it was the very proof that he was doing something about the reports of massive illegal recruitment against Alpha.

The thing is, that episode opened a floodgate of complaints from Filipinos in Italy that the consulate had allegedly deadpanned their charges against Respicio, who had been seen with Cato in videos and photos.

At the Senate, Cato should shed light on allegations that the consulate received a sizeable amount from Alpha Assistenza for its 18 June celebration of Independence Day.

According to Jeffrey Villalon, who created Alpha Assistenza’s website while working in the Philippines, the video wall alone used in the event cost 26,000 euros or roughly P1.5 million.

Villalon said he talked with the video wall supplier who, at the time of his interview with DAILY TRIBUNE, was yet to be paid over half of the rental price. According to Villalon, the rental company has been needling the consulate for the remainder of the payment.

Whether those behind this alleged scam are prosecuted in Italy or the Philippines, what is certain in all these is that the people, who could least afford to lose money, had lost savings and sold properties to raise the consultancy fees demanded by Alpha Assistenza.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *