On Monday (March 9), President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned that he would ask the Kuwaiti government for the death penalty for those behind the killing of a Filipino migrant worker in the Gulf state.
According to the Filipino president, he would visit the Gulf state and ask its government to “cut off the heads” of the killers of domestic helper Jeanelyn Villavende.
PRRD to Request for Death Penalty of Killers of OFWs in Kuwait
Duterte said at a press meeting in Malacanang, “And if they can follow it through in accordance with their laws, I would ask for…I will ask for the maximum. I want their executioner to cut off the heads of those who are responsible for the death of the Filipina,” as shared in a report by ABS CBN News.
Earlier this year, the Philippine government has placed a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait after Villavende was found to have been sexually abused and tortured by her employer.
Presently, the suspects to the murder of the Filipina domestic helper are detained while undergoing trial, a move that President Duterte called as “good justice.”
The president shared, however, that as he talks about the workers in the Middle East, “his heart bleeds”, and so he has decided that he must go to Kuwait and see that this justice is served till the end.
Following the death of Villavende, the Philippines and Kuwait agreed on a harmonized standard employment contract for overseas Filipino workers, a development which took after the memorandum of understanding signed by both governments following the murder case of another Filipina, Joanna Demafeliz, whose body was found inside a refrigerator in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait back in 2018.
Under the new “harmonized” contract, employers are prohibited from keeping the passport of their workers. The workers will also be allowed to use their mobile phones after work, and are entitled to a day off with pay.
Meanwhile, in a hearing of the House committee on overseas workers’ affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said a hearing for Villavende’s case is scheduled in Kuwait on March 24.
According to Arriola, the DFA had plans to fly Villavende’s father to Kuwait for the hearing, but this will no longer push through due to travel restrictions put in place by the Gulf state amid the novel coronavirus crisis.
She, however, gave assurances that the DFA would support Villavende’s family through the trial, adding that the Philippine embassy is translating important documents for the case from Arabic to English.
Philippine authorities earlier condemned Villavende’s murder, describing it as a “clear violation” of the agreement signed by the Philippines and Kuwait in 2018.
Manila last imposed a total deployment ban on the Gulf state in 2018 after Filipina migrant worker Joanna Demafelis was slain and discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment there. Her employer was found guilty of her murder.
Around 248,000 Filipinos are working in Kuwait, with more than half being female domestic workers.