Bello warns total ban of  OFWs in Kuwait; says NBI’s autopsy shows slain worker suffered “wicked things” done by employers

NORALA, South Cotabato (MindaNews / 11 January) — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday warned the government may declare a total ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Kuwait in the wake of a questionable autopsy report released by the Kuwaiti government on the death late last month of domestic helper Jeanelyn Villavende.

In a press conference at the victim’s wake in Purok Guimbal, Barangay Tinago here, Bello said the results of the re-autopsy done by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Villavende in a funeral parlor here, shows the Kuwaiti government’s autopsy was “talagang kasinungalingan” (a total lie).

Relatives of Jeanelyn Villavende, the OFW who was slain recently in Kuwait, weep while waiting to view her remains inside the morgue of a funeral parlor in Norala, South Cotabato on January 9, 2020. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

He did not disclose the details of the re-autopsy pending the release of the official report but said he was verbally briefed on the initial findings Friday morning by Dr. Ricardo Rodaje, the NBI’s medico-legal chief.

“Lumalabas na walang kuwenta ang ginawang autopsy ng Kuwait. Di ko pa masabi ang resulta pero talagang kasinungalingan yung autopsy report ng Kuwaiti government (It appears that the autopsy conducted in Kuwait was useless. I can’t discuss the results yet but it made the autopsy report of the Kuwaiti government a total lie),” Bello said.

Pressed by reporters for details, he said they “did wicked things to the victim and oppressed her too much.”

“If you will see the autopsy report, you might want to kill their (Kuwait) ambassador,” he said.

The autopsy report earlier released by Kuwaiti authorities said the 26-year-old Villavende died due to acute heart and respiratory failure as a result of shock and multiple injuries in the vascular system.

But Rodaje told reporters here after the more than three-hour autopsy on Thursday that they are looking into the possibility that the victim was raped prior to her death.

Villavende was brought dead to a hospital in Kuwait on December 28 after reportedly being beaten by her lady employer. Her family here was informed of her death on December 30.

Bello, who declared a partial ban last week on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, said he doubted the “one-sentence” autopsy findings released by the Kuwaiti as the cause of the victim’s death and immediately requested the NBI to conduct a re-autopsy on Villavende of her remains.

Once he receives the official report on the NBI’s re-autopsy, Bello said he will convene the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and may recommend a total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.

“That will not be lifted until we get proper justice (for Villavende),” he said.

As to the suspects in the killing, he said the Kuwaiti couple who had employed the victim had been detained as confirmed by the labor attache of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.

He said Kuwaiti Ambassador to Manila Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaihk informed him in a meeting last week that the suspects have already been charged but  Althwaihk failed on his promise to deliver a copy of the charge sheet last Monday. (MindaNews)