By Leslie Ann Aquino
To prevent a possible whitewash of the investigation into the death of Filipina domestic helper Jeanelyn Villavende, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the government should immediately convene the joint monitoring committee, a provision for which is contained in the May 2018 pact between the Philippines and Kuwait governments.
The group issued the call after learning that the spouse of the suspect is an employee at the Kuwaiti Department of the Interior.
“The Philippine government must seriously invoke the joint monitoring committee comprised of representatives from the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs consular office and the Department of Labor and Employment’s labor attache and the representatives from Kuwait government to convene immediately and take cognizance of the case and protect the facts and instances surrounding Villavende’s death from being whitewashed,” said TUCP President and TUCP party-list Representative Raymond Mendoza in a statement.
“The monitoring committee must be convened immediately because the spouse of the suspect is an employee at the Kuwait Interior Department and we fear that it might influence the government authorities investigating the incident and alter the facts and evidences of the case around Villavende’s death,” he added.
Once the committee is up and running, Mendoza said Philippine government officials must work to avoid the investigation taking the full 45-days period.
“We believe it doesn’t have to take 45 days before the remains can be repatriated to the county. And our labor and consular officials must assert for the remains be flown back to the country immediately,” he said.
In their statement, the TUCP also urged the government to do away with the bidding process in hiring the lawyer who will defend the case of Villavende.
“Due to the urgency of the matter, we have to forgo the bidding process in hiring a lawyer for Villavende. We must do away with the process and immediately hire the best Kuwaiti lawyer to help us with the case because this is a matter of national importance for us,” Mendoza said.