Locsin: ‘Best Kuwaiti lawyers’ to handle Jeanelyn Villavende’s case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 04 2020 08:30 PM | Updated as of Jan 04 2020 09:37 PM

An investigation is underway in Kuwait in connection with the death of Jeanelyn Villavende, whose employer is a suspect. Photo from Villavende's Facebook Page

MANILA—The Philippine government assured that it hired the "best Kuwaiti lawyers" to take on the case of a Filipina domestic worker who was killed in Kuwait, Foreign Affairs chief Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Saturday.

An investigation is underway in connection with the death of Jeanelyn Villavende, whose employer is a suspect.

"We've hired one of the best Kuwaiti lawyers to prosecute the case," Locsin told DZMM's "Omaga-Diaz Reports" without going into detail.

The investigation will last about a week before a Kuwaiti court formally begins hearing the case, Locsin added.

He said Arab employers have no excuse for being violent against OFWs.

"I don't want to make a big geopolitical issue," Locsin said.

"They think they own the person [that's why] they treat them as a slave? I told them (Kuwaiti officials), 'Don't ever tell that to me again. If you use that as an excuse, I will slap you.'

"An Arab is a very smart person. They know that no matter what you pay, they are not slaves."

The Philippine government has banned domestic workers from seeking employment in Kuwait after the incident.

A similar ban was imposed against Kuwait in 2018 after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers there, including Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer.

Manila lifted the three-month ban in May 2018.