By Joseph Jubelag
KORONADAL CITY, SOUTH COTABATO– Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III vowed to give justice to the family of overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende who was murdered by her employer in Kuwait last month.
Bello said on Thursday that the government was mulling a total deployment ban of OFW in Kuwait following the tragic incident that befell on Villavende, 26, who was reportedly beaten to death by her employer last December 28.
Bello issued the ban on OFW deployment in Kuwait after he visited the wake of Villavende in Norala, South Cotabato last Friday.
He also asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an autopsy on the victim’s remains as he cast doubts on the autopsy report issued by Kuwaiti authorities which showed that the victim succumbed to physical injuries.
“We cannot accept the autopsy report made by Kuwait which was designed to cover up the cause of the victim’s death,” Bello said.
The victim’s relatives claimed that Villavende sustained a broken skull which showed that she was subjected to severe beating and manhandling.
Nelly Padernal, who served as guardian of Jeanelyn, said the latter left for Kuwait last August to look for greener pasteur to support the needs of her two younger siblings.
Padernal said she was still able to talk with Jeanelyn’s female employer last December 10 wherein the Kuwaiti employer told her that Jeanelyn could not speak to her since the latter was very busy attending to household chores.
She also complained to the agency of Jeanelyn to monitor the status of the OFW as she raised suspicion on the unusual condition of her relative abroad.
“Several calls were made to contact Jeanelyn wherein her employer would simply inform me that she was busy in her work had prompted me to suspect that something wrong is going on with the condition of Jeanelyn, ‘ Padernal said.
She said that last December a personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called her to inform that Jeanelyn died in hospital in Kuwait
South Cotabato second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernadez, who accompanied Bello to Villavende’s wake, said Congress is set to hold an inquiry into Villavende’s case on Monday.
He said the government should impose the ban on the deployment of OFWs to countries where there are cases of maltreatment involving Filipino workers.