Filipino workers speak out against Halifax businessman in immigration fraud case

CKTB News- Trial

Emotional Filipino workers spoke out against a Halifax businessman at his sentencing hearing today, despite some continuing to fear retaliation for condemning the prominent community leader.

Hector Mantolino pleaded guilty in December 2017 to misrepresentation under provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Crown is recommending a sentence of two years in prison, noting the need to deter "like-minded individuals'' and to fully denounce the offences against temporary foreign workers.

The case of immigration fraud appears to have divided the city's Filipino community, with some expressing trepidation about speaking out.

After meeting with Crown and defence lawyers in his chambers to discuss the issue, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Glen McDougall told the court that victims have a statutory right to read their victim impact statements without fear of reprisals.

Two workers say they were underpaid and mistreated for years but remained quiet for fear of being deported back to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, a third worker says he was grateful to Mantolino for helping him come to Canada, and that given the opportunity he would work for the businessman again.

The sentencing hearing resumes Jan. 25.