Murder charges have been filed against the Kuwaiti employers of migrant Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.
“I was informed that the employers have been formally charged with murder,” Bello told the joint hearing of the Labor and Foreign Relations committees over the maltreatment of Filipino workers abroad.
Malacañang welcomed the news.
“That’s good, since we are seeking justice. We welcome that,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
Bello said the employers were now in a detention facility for criminals.
Villavende allegedly was killed by her Kuwaiti employers, one of whom is a member of the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, last December.
The murder took place only five months after Villavende left the Philippines to work in Kuwait.
NBI Medico Legal Officer Rolando Rodaje said a re-autopsy on Villavende showed there were signs of “physical abuse and sexual violence.” She also sustained “multiple, severe traumatic injuries.”
Rodaje also said there were indications the victim had long been subjected to physical abuse as there were healed wounds and wounds that were about to heal. Most of her injuries were at the back of the head.
He said the victim’s mother failed to recognize her as she was “malnourished.”
Bello said the Philippines had imposed a total deployment ban on Kuwait because of the incident. He said the government would not lift the ban if Villavende was not be given justice and if Kuwait would not agree to signing a standard contract.
“The ban will stay if Jeanelyn will not be given justice and if they will not agree to harmonized standard contract,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said the suspects had initially offered P59 million in “blood money,” but this was rejected by the victim’s family and insisted on justice for Villavende. With MJ Blancaflor