Sec. Locsin orders halt of blood money over death of Jeanelyn Villavende in Kuwait

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021   •   370

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintains that the Philippine government will not accept the offer of P7.5 million blood money from the family of the employer of Jeanelyn Villavende.

Villavende was the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was sexually assaulted and brutally killed in Kuwait in December 2019.

In a tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin ordered the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to stop processing the blood money payout for Villavende’s demise.

Villavende’s female employer was sentenced to death for the crime.

Based on the law in the Middle East, the convict may offer the victim’s family blood money in exchange for his or her life.

Locsin wants Embassy officials to ensure that the Kuwait court’s sentence will be served.

The DFA chief said the Philippine government can and should provide for the blood money to help Villavende’s family.

Locsin warns anyone on the side of the Philippines who will attempt to defer the sentence.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte requested the Kuwaiti government to impose the heaviest punishment on Jeanelyn’s employers.

It can be recalled, as well, that this case prompted the Philippines to enforce a total ban on deployment of OFWs to Kuwait.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III supports Locsin that the government should provide for the family of Villavende.

Bello added that the government may also raise money similar to what it did to save the life of an OFW who was sentenced for the murder of his employer and the government was able to raise P30 million pesos as blood money.

“I agree with that para wala ng blood money kasi the blood money  does not give justice to the parents of Jeanelyn Villavende,” Secretary Bello said.

To date, the total ban of OFWs to Kuwait remains in effect due to continuous reports of violations such as nonpayment of salary, abuse, and employers who are taking the passports and cellphones of OFWs by force. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Kuwaiti employer sentenced to death for killing Filipino worker

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 31, 2020

A Kuwaiti employer is sentenced to death for being guilty of killing Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait announced.

In a statement, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said that the Kuwaiti Criminal Court on Wednesday (December 30) sentenced Villavende’s woman employer to death by hanging for torturing Villavende.

Her husband, meanwhile, was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for covering up and not reporting the crime.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait expressed its gratitude to the Kuwaiti Court for the decision and thanked all the officials who helped in seeking justice for Villavende.

“May the court’s decision on the Villavende murder case serve as a reminder to everyone that no Filipino is a slave to anyone, anywhere and everywhere, and that justice will always come to the defense of the weak and the oppressed,” the statement reads.

Villavende died on December 28, 2019 after her employer tortured her for weeks and killed her.

Due to the incident, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a total ban on the deployment of workers in Kuwait. This was eventually lifted in January 2020 after charges were filed against the employers. AAC

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

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

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.

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