KUWAIT CITY - The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait reiterated its position Wednesday on the “no negotiation policy” as regards blood money in the case of a Filipino domestic worker who was tortured to death in 2019 by her female employer due to jealousy.
“Ang posisyon ng embassy tungkol kay Villavende is unang-una, we pursue death sentence against the employer. Now, maganda ang resulta. Ang desisyon ng Kuwait Criminal Court is death sentence," Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, said.
(The position of the embassy on the case of Villavende is first, we pursue death sentence against the employer. Now, the result was good. The decision of the Kuwait Criminal Court is death sentence.)
Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, a Filipino household worker, was killed by her Kuwaiti employer in December 2019. A year later, a Kuwaiti criminal court handed a death verdict by hanging to her female employer, while the latter's husband was sentenced to four years imprisonment for covering up and not reporting the crime.
"Ito nga yung inasam-asam natin na death for death, life for life, and blood for blood. So, ang embassy natin, wala ng ibang posisyon kundi talagang ma-execute itong pumatay kay Villavende para din mabigyan ng justice si Villavende,” Lomondot said, following a tweet by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordering him to block an alleged attempt to pay off the murder of Villavende with P7.5 million in “blood money.”
(This is what we had wanted - death for death, life for life, and blood for blood. So, our embassy has no other position but for the execution of the person who killed Villavende so she can get justice.)
Villavende died on December 28, 2019. Her embalming 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.”
The Philippine Embassy lead counsel, Atty. Sheikha Fawzia Al-Sabah, a Kuwaiti human rights lawyer, said the court’s ruling is fair and in compliance with the law and Sharia.
Lomondot said Fawzia also has turned down the request of the lawyer of the other party for negotiation on dia or blood money.
“As to blood money, the embassy or Attorney Fawzia does not have any authority or does not involve ourselves, with this kind of negotiation of blood money. Basta ang posisyon lang natin is execution for the culprit,” Lomondot said.
(Our position is for execution of the culprit.)
Under the Shariah Law, the death sentence may be commuted to life sentence if the next of kin of the victim receives dia or blood money from the convicted party in exchange for a “Tanazul” or letter of forgiveness that is needed for the commutation of the death sentence.
“So, nasa accused na ‘yon kung makikipag-negotiate siya sa NOK (next of kin). At kung pumayag ang NOK, pwedeng ma-commute ang sentence. Yung pamilya ng namatayan, pwede ma-negotiate ang sentence dahil entitled sila riyan. Sinabihan, very clear ang Qur’an dyan, at saka sa Shariah yan, na they could negotiate for blood money. But it is the position of the embassy and our lawyer not to negotiate for any blood money,” explained Lomondot.
(So, it's up to the accused if he/she will negotiate with the next of kin of the victim. If the next of kin will agree, the sentence may be commuted. The family of the victim may negotiate because they are entitled to it. The Qur'an and the Shariah are clear that they could negotiate for blood money.)
Under the Kuwait justice system, the lawyer of the Kuwaiti woman on death row may still appeal the death verdict before the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation, provided that they can secure and present a "Tanazul" or letter of forgiveness from Villavende’s next of kin and present it to the court.
“Ang gusto namin, life or life. Pumatay ka, nangutang ka ng buhay, magbayad ka ng buhay. Yan ang position ng embassy. Pero yung entitlement ng namatayan, or ng next of kin na kumuha ng blood money ‘dun sa accused, wala na kami ‘dun, dahil we will never negotiate for any blood money,” the Philippine envoy added.
(What we want is life for life. You killed, to took a life, so you must pay the same. That is the position of the embassy. But the entitlement of the family of the victim, the next of kin, to get blood money from the accused is beyond us.)