Duterte says Kuwait response to Pinay death better this time


Posted at Jan 10 2020 06:14 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte interacts with 160 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, April 18, 2017. King Rodriguez, Malacañang Photo/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed satisfaction over Kuwait's response to the death of a Filipino worker there, citing swift action on the latest case compared to previous incidents. 

The President said two instances of OFW killings- that of Jeanelyn Villavende in late December and Joanna Demafelis in 2018- were "quite different" since Kuwaiti authorities "acted swiftly" on the latest incident. 

"Nakita ko naman (I saw that) there were arrests made, and there is an investigation going on, and apparently justice is being done," he said in an exclusive interview with Ted Failon on Thursday.

"Maganda ang response ng Kuwaiti authorities (The response of Kuwaiti authorities is good). The fact that arrests were made, I think for the time being, I would say na up to this time, justice is being dispensed."

Officials earlier said the suspect in Villavende's slay was already in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities. 

In the 2018 incident, Duterte had responded angrily, given circumstances of Demafelis' death: her body was found inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.

Months after his tirade against those responsible for the slay, the President outlined some of his demands to the Kuwaiti government on the treatment of Filipino domestic helpers.

The Philippines and Kuwait then figured in a diplomatic row after a video showing the rescue of distressed Filipino workers by Philippine embassy officials in the Gulf nation went viral online. This led to a labor deployment ban on the Gulf state.

The two countries settled their diplomatic differences after both signed a deal to provide better protection for Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait.

Duterte said his planned state visit to Kuwait will continue, despite the latest tragedy to affect both countries' relations and the welfare of OFWs in the Gulf state.

"I have this commitment to visit and thank the Kuwaiti authorities for so many revisions made intending to protect [OFWs]. Of course there is always a bad day for somebody, [pero] itong nangyari na ito, for as long as there is justice being applied, wala naman akong ano... things can happen," he said. 

After the latest incident of OFW killing in Kuwait, Manila imposed a partial ban on the deployment of Filipino workers there.