MANILA (2nd UPDATE)—An autopsy conducted by Philippine authorities on a Filipino migrant worker killed by her Kuwaiti employer showed "clear indications of sexual abuse," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message on Sunday.
There were also old healed wounds on Jeanelyn Villavende's body, which indicated that she was "battered weeks prior" to her death, Guevarra added, citing the National Bureau of Investigation's autopsy report.
“Sexual abuse and prior infliction of physical injury have been established,” Guevarra said, citing an official report due to be submitted to his office on Monday.
Villavende died on December 28, 2019, allegedly in the hands of her employer, who is now in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities.
Her embalment certificate said she died due to “acute failure of heart and respiration as result by (sic) shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system.”
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has said he doubted the credibility of Kuwaiti forensic doctors, who sent a two-sentence report of their autopsy saying Villavende died of "physical injuries."
Because of the "false" autopsy report, Bello said he would recommend to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration a permanent deployment ban of household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait, promising to deliver justice for Villavende.
A partial deployment ban there is currently in place, similar to what happened in February 2018 after the death of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis.
Philippine Labor Attaché to Kuwait Nasser Mustafa, meanwhile, said he supports Bello's proposal, adding that government has livelihood assistance programs ready for OFWs.
"Ang mensahe ko sa mga kakabayan natin sa Kuwait ay mahinahon sila dahil itong ginagawa ng ating gobyerno through DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) ay para sa kabutihan ng lahat. Di ito ginawa para tanggalan sila ng mga trabaho," he told ABS-CBN News.
A group of Filipino leaders in Kuwait also expressed support for the total deployment ban of Filipino household service workers (HSWs).
“Huwag isama ang mga skilled workers or visa sapagkat kami naman po ay protektado ng labor law ng Kuwait,” said Engr. Kiko Olpindo.
A group of recruitment agencies deploying HSWs to Kuwait appealed to the Philippine government to carefully weigh its decision on the total deployment ban that would affect some 250,000 OFWs there.
“Wala po kaming magawa kung ano ang desisyon ng gobyerno natin, pero sana pag-isipan ng mabuti dahil marami pong maapekuhan at sana pagbigyan naman ’yung mga gustong mag-abroad,” said Mariam Macapudi, president of the Filipino Association of Secretaries of Employment Agencies in Kuwait.
— With reports from Mike Navallo, Maxxy Santiago, Jec Lomibao and Lyndon Aballe, ABS-CBN News