Domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende was allegedly killed by her employer’s wife, barely six months after she flew to the Gulf nation.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
DOJ to look into liability of recruiters for OFW's death in Kuwait
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 8, 2020 - 11:48am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will look into the possible liability of recruiters for slain overseas worker in Kuwait Jeanelyn Villavende.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Wednesday that the DOJ will “investigate whether there is any liability on the part of the recruiter” of Villavende.

Villavende was allegedly killed by her employer’s wife, barely six months after she flew to the Gulf nation.

A certificate of embalmment from Kuwait showed that she died due to heart and respiratory failure brought by multiple injuries of the vascular system, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.       

The National Bureau of Investigation, attached agency of the DOJ, is also conducting an autopsy on Villavende’s body.

Guevarra explained that Kuwaiti authorities will conduct the appropriate legal proceedings against Villavende’s employers, while the Justice department will be “after the liability of those who might have unlawfully recruited her or neglected her after placing her in Kuwait.”

“We will coordinate with the Department of Labor and Employment, with the [Philippine Overseas Employment Administration] for the investigation, he added.

Rep. Eric Pineda (1-Pacman party-list) earlier said Villavende filed a complaint on delayed payment as early as July to her agency, 5-Star Manpower, but was not reported to the POEA.

Pineda said the Filipina worker was allowed to speak to 5-Star Manpower owner Reynaldo Madamba over the phone where she said she was being maltreated.

Villavende’s body, according to the Department of Labor and Employment, is set to arrive from Kuwait at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and would immediately be flown to her home in General Santos. 

Deployment ban

Villavende’s gruesome death followed domestic worker Joana Demafelis’ whose body was found inside a freezer in 2018.

Demafelis’ death sparked diplomatic crisis between the Philippines and Kuwait which resulted in a labor deal.

The Philippines and Kuwait signed an agreement in 2018 committing to, among other things, "take legal measures against erring employers, domestic workers, Kuwaiti recruitment or Philippine recruitment agencies for any violation of employment contract provisions, applicable laws, rules and regulations of both Parties."

The Department of Labor and Employment has expanded its partial deployment ban to Kuwait to cover household workers, both new hires and those with expired contracts.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said the death of Villavende "is a clear violation" of the 2018 agreement that sought to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

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