Philippines president rules out total deployment ban

There is no intention to totally withdraw Filipino workers from Kuwait in spite of the killing of Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

President Duterte made his views clear during a media interview on Friday. The president said that he is satisfied with the immediate action taken by the Kuwait government in dealing with the case of Villavende. “We do not see apathy there and the police authorities of Kuwait acted swiftly. And they have arrested the couple. I saw that there were arrests made and there’s an investigation going on. And apparently, justice is being done. I’m not really keen on moving people out.”

Relatives have called for capital punishment to be meted out to those responsible for the murder of Villavende. One relative, commenting after having viewed her body said that the people who employed her were no better than beasts. He disclosed thatVillavende’s skull had been cracked and there was a large wound in the back of her head, as well as bruises in different parts of her body.

The embalming certificate issued by Kuwait authorities stated that she died on 28 December, 2019 due to “acute failure of heart and respiration as a result of shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system”. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr confirmed that the Philippine government is ready to provide legal and other types of assistance to the family of the victim in order to seek the death penalty for the killers, and that a expert criminal lawyer in Kuwait had been hired to handle the case.

In view of Villavende’s killing, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in the Philippines had suspended the deployment of household workers to Kuwait. In imposing the ban, DoLE said that Villavende’s death at the hands of her employers violated a 2018 labor agreement with Kuwait that was meant to protect domestic helpers against abuse by their employers.