Raped OFW in Kuwait arrives home after eight years of court battle

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020   •   309

MANILA, Philippines – Filipina domestic worker alias ‘Minerva’ finally arrived in the country on Sunday (November 29) after winning her case against a Kuwaiti policeman who raped her eight years ago.

‘Minerva’ rejoined her family after spending eight years at the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center while awaiting the outcome of her case.

According to Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa, ‘Minerva’ was deployed to Kuwait by Zontar Manpower Services Inc. as a domestic worker in September 2006 but was later on transferred to work in a dress shop located in Farwaniya.

While her residence visa was still for renewal by her employer, she was caught by a Kuwaiti policeman in September 2012.

Instead of bringing her to the police station, she was driven to a dark desert in South Surra where she was raped inside the police patrol car and was stabbed in the neck and back.

‘Minerva’ managed to crawl by the roadside where she was found by a passing car and was brought to Mubarak Hospital.

Following two years of court trial, the policeman was sentenced to death in June 2014 by the Court of First Instance. The sentence was eventually commuted to life imprisonment by the Court of Appeals upon the appeal of the policeman’s legal counsel.

‘Minerva’ was awarded civil damages amounting to P3 million through the representative of the Philippine Embassy and Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Sheika Fawzia Salem Al-Sabah. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III lauded the efforts of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Philippine embassy in Kuwait for successfully winning the case for ‘Minerva’ and bringing her home.

‘Minerva’ was repatriated along with 76 wards of the half-way house via Kuwait Airways.

Filipino on Kuwait death row gets Amiri pardon, flies home to PH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Kuwait has granted clemency to overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Bienvenido Espino after serving 13 years in jail on death row for the murder of his Filipina partner in 2008.

According to Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Charge D’affaires and Consul General Pendosina Lomondot, Espino was pardoned by the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the recently concluded Eid season, along with other Filipino detainees at Sulaibiya Central Jail.

“On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, my deepest and most profound gratitude goes to His Highness The Amir for granting clemency to OFW Bienvenido Espino, and for giving our kababayan a chance to start a new life in the Philippines,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said.

In May 2008, the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance found Espino guilty of murdering his Filipina partner in October 2007, and sentenced him to death by hanging. 

The said decision was upheld by the Kuwaiti Court of Appeals in January 2009, and by the Kuwait Court of Cassation in November 2009.

However, Espino received a tanazul or letter of forgiveness from the family of his late Filipina partner after settling the blood money for the crime. 

The issuance of a tanazul led to the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2013. 

Lomondot said Espino’s case had been under negotiation since the administrations of Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III.  

The embassy official sent off Espino at the Kuwait International Airport on August 30 along with other Filipinos who availed the repatriation flight arranged by the Philippine government for OFWs who wish to return home due to the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

PH to scale down deployment of workers to Kuwait

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it is scaling down the deployment of workers to Kuwait over its new requirement for returning expatriates from the Philippines and nine other nations to present proof they are not infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said scaling down of deployment means that the government will slow down the issuance of overseas employment certificates (OEC) by delaying its processing for one month.

An OEC is an exit clearance for departing Filipino migrant workers.

“It’s not a retaliatory order, it’s a practical order. They are requiring so many requirements for our workers, that’s giving more burden to our workers. In order to prevent our workers from going there, they might as well go to other countries,” Bello told reporters in a briefing.

He, however, said he has spoken with the Department of Foreign Affairs to work out an arrangement with Kuwaiti authorities to honor medical certificates issued by Department of Health-run hospitals and local health centers, which are issued for free.

Kuwait, which reported 56 confirmed coronavirus infections, announced on Wednesday that expatriates from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Georgia and Lebanon.

READ: Expats from Philippines, 9 other countries returning to Kuwait to face new protocol amid COVID-19 spread

The new travel protocol, which will take effect on March 8, requires expatriates to undergo medical examination and present certificates that confirms they are not infected with the virus before entering the Gulf state.

These certificates must be issued by health centers approved by the Embassy of State of Kuwait. If there is no Kuwaiti embassy in these countries, they must be certified by the health authorities operating in the said countries.

Expatriates failing to comply with the new protocol will be denied entry to Kuwait and deported to their country of origin “without the State bearing any financial costs” through the same carrier.

The airline company will also be fined for violating the order.

The country’s partial deployment ban to Kuwait remains in place, only allowing semi-skilled, skilled, and professional workers to return to their employers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Expats from Philippines, 9 other countries returning to Kuwait to face new protocol amid COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Expatriates returning to Kuwait after visiting the Philippines and nine other countries will soon be required to undergo a medical examination and present proof that they are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a state authority announced.

In an advisory posted on Wednesday, the Director General of Civil Aviation announced the new travel protocol which covers all expatriates coming from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Georgia and Lebanon.

The new travel protocol, which will take effect on March 8, requires expatriates to undergo medical examination and present certificates that confirms they are not infected with the virus before entering the Gulf state.

These certificates must be issued by health centers approved by the Embassy of State of Kuwait.  

“If there is no Kuwaiti embassy in these countries, they must be certified by the health authorities operating in the said countries,” the official added.

Expatriates who will fail to comply with the new protocol will be denied entry to Kuwait and deported to their country of origin “without the State bearing any financial costs” through the same carrier.

The airline company will also be fined for violating the order.

Kuwaiti citizens, meanwhile, are excluded from the procedure because they will be examined at the Kuwait International Airport.

The Kuwaiti government already suspended flights to and from Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Italy and Iraq due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections worldwide.

An entry ban has also been enforced for those who travelled from South Korea, Iraq, Thailand and Italy in the past two weeks.

Kuwait has reported 56 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 4.

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