Kuwaiti govt. allows Filipino investigators join probe on worker’s death


Philippine authorities will be allowed to join their Kuwaiti counterparts in the investigation of the murder of Filipina domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende to show Kuwait’s commitment to the case, a top official said.

Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns Secretary Abdullah D. Mama-o and other embassy officials met with Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah on Tuesday, January 21, to discuss pressing issues concerning the welfare and well-being of the thousands of Filipinos in Kuwait.

“To show Kuwait’s commitment in the case, Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Jarallah said that his government is willing to allow investigators from the Philippines to join the investigation in Kuwait of the murder of OFW Villavende,” the embassy said in a statement.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry is expected to release the full reports of the police investigation and autopsy results, the embassy statement added.

Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier slammed what he called an apparent “cover-up” on the death of the Filipina worker.

An embalming certificate from Kuwait’s health ministry showed that Villavende died of “acute failure of heart and respiration” as a result of shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system.

But a separate autopsy conducted by the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed that Villavende’s brain, heart, and some internal organs were missing; and that she also suffered multiple, severe traumatic injuries including genitalia injuries –an indication that she was sexually abused.

Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot also met with Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for Protocol Dhari Al-Ajran, who assured the Philippine government of “a swift and transparent investigation over the killing of OFW Villavende”.

The embassy said both sides “expressed hope that issues concerning the rights and protections for the more than 150,000 Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait will be resolved through the soon-to-be-convened Joint Committee Meeting on the 2018 Philippines-Kuwait Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers.”

In February 2018, the Philippines imposed a total deployment ban on Kuwait after authorities found inside a freezer the body of domestic helper Joanna Demafelis, who was killed by her employers.

The ban was lifted three months later after Manila and Kuwait signed an agreement on the protection of OFWs. (Source: INQUIRER.net)