AN autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the remains of Filipina domestic helper Jeanelyn Villavende who was supposedly beaten to death by her Kuwaiti employers showed that she was sexually abused, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Sunday.
Guevarra said the NBI autopsy report likewise indicated that Villapende had been assaulted weeks before her death. The report will be formally submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) today, Monday,
The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Ricardo Rodaje, chief of the NBI Medico-Legal division on January 10 in Cotabato City shortly after the victim’s body arrived in the country. It was requested by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
“There were clear indications of sexual abuse. There were also old healed wounds indicating that Villavende had been battered weeks prior to the fateful incident,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
“Sexual abuse and prior infliction of physical injury have been established,” he added.
An embalmment report of the Sabah Hospital in Kuwait, which was earlier released by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said Villavende’s death was caused by “acute failure of heart and respiration as result by shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system.”
Villavende was killed just five months after she left Manila to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait.
Last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said a top-notch Kuwaiti lawyer has been hired by the Philippine government to pursue the murder case.
“The DFA has commissioned a top-notch criminal lawyer in Kuwait to pursue the case against the perpetrators and ensure that justice is served. An eye for an eye, a life for a life,” Locsin said.
The Kuwaiti Embassy in Manila has informed the DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment that criminal charges have been filed against Villavende’s employer and his wife, who are now both in jail in Kuwait.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) condemned the Kuwaiti government for submitting what it claimed was a “fake” autopsy report.
TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said the act of the Kuwaiti government was unacceptable as it was a veiled attempt to whitewash the brutal murder of Villavende.
“We strongly condemn this so-called fake autopsy report submitted by the Kuwaiti to the Philippine government,” said Mendoza.
“This is completely a willful dishonest attempt of the Kuwaiti government to cover up the heinous crime committed by the Kuwaiti nationals (who are the) principal suspects and whitewash the gruesome act of inhumanity,” Mendoza said.
The TUCP urged Philippine government officials to send their foreign counterparts with a strong message.
“The Filipino people and the overseas Filipino workers, in particular, are demanding the Philippine government to make a strong response and condemn this unacceptable act of bad faith on the part of the Kuwaiti government,” Mendoza said.
The DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has already imposed a partial deployment ban in Kuwait covering all newly-hired household service workers (HSWs).
TUCP, however, has said that it believes that the Philippine government should impose a total deployment ban on HSWs bound for Kuwait.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar defended a recent pronouncement by President Duterte that he is satisfied with actions taken by Kuwait on the case of Villevende amid calls for a permanent ban on the deployment of workers to the said country.
Andanar echoed the President’s observations that the action of Kuwait in Villevende’s case was better compared to the case of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis in 2018.
“Despite the tragedy involving the killing of one of our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Jeanelyn Villavende, we support President Duterte’s pronouncement that there will be no deployment ban for OFWs bound for Kuwait. This comes after the proactive and just response made by the Kuwaiti Government on the said case,” he said.
Andanar said the Kuwaiti government has carried out what the Duterte administration had sought for when it signed an agreement with Kuwait to provide better protection for Filipino migrant workers in 2018.
“The Duterte administration will continue to seek out agreements with all governments to ensure the safety and protection of our OFWs all over the world,” he said.
Locsin said the DFA provided Villavende’s family with financial assistance amounting to P100, 000 to help defray the costs of the funeral expenses.
Earlier, Locsin summoned the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila Musaed Ahmad Althwaikh to express the government’s outrage over the seeming lack of protection of Filipinas deployed as domestic workers at the hands of their employers and to press for complete transparency in the investigation of the case and to call for the swift prosecution of the perpetrators.
In 2018, another Filipina domestic helper, Joanna Demafeliz was also killed in Kuwait and her body was discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in the oil-rich kingdom.
The incident prompted President Duterte to issue a labor deployment ban to Kuwait. There are about 260, 000 Filipinos living and working in Kuwait. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Gerard Naval