MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was contented with the way the Kuwaiti government handled the case of slain Filipino domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende.
“The fact that there was an investigation and there were arrests made and there are people in detention, para sa akin, okay na sana (for me, that was okay),” Duterte said in a speech during the 69th founding anniversary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City.
However, Duterte said he would leave it to Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III to decide whether or not to lift the deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait.
“Si Bebot kasi ang ano — ang apurado. Talagang mainit sya (It’s just that Bebot wanted it rushed. He is really passionate about it),” Duterte said.
“So opisina niya ‘yan, hindi na lang ako nakialam (That’s his office, I won’t interfere). I do not want to rebuke my Cabinet members publicly. So hinayaan ko siya. Sabi ko (So I left it to him. I said), ‘Let us see what develops,’ he added.
On Tuesday, Bello bared that murder charges were filed against Villavende’s Kuwaiti employers and that they are now detained in a facility for criminals.
Bello stood pat on his stand that the temporary ban stays until the Kuwaiti government agrees to “harmonize” the memorandum of agreement on the protection of OFWs in the Arab country signed by the two countries on May 11, 2018.
The agreement aims to put an end to inhumane treatment committed against Filipino workers by their Kuwaiti employers.
It contains provisions which include requiring workers’ passports to be deposited to the Philippine embassy and not confiscated by employers; workers are given one day off every week; workers are given seven hours of sleep a day; workers are provided with decent meals and sleeping quarters; and workers are provided with cellphones.
Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Kuwaiti government has yet to honor the pact on the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf State.
On Dec. 28, 2019, Villavende was brought dead to a hospital in Kuwait after reportedly being beaten by her lady employer.
The results of the National Bureau of Investigation’s examination of Villavende’s remains showed signs of sexual abuse on the victim. There were also “old healed wounds” which indicate that Villavende had been battered weeks prior to her killing. (PNA)