MANILA: The Philippines on Wednesday welcomed a Kuwaiti court’s decision to sentence to death by hanging a Kuwaiti woman convicted of murdering a Filipino maid.
Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, 26, died from injuries inflicted by her employer’s wife in December 2019. The case prompted the Philippine government to temporarily stop sending domestic workers to the Gulf state in early 2020.
The ban was lifted when Kuwaiti authorities filed charges against Villavende’s employers and introduced legal protection measures for Filipino household staff.
The husband of the woman convicted of Villavende’s murder was sentenced to four years in prison for not reporting the crime.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Filipino Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., said: “Thank you, Kuwait. The Criminal Court sentence(d) a Kuwait citizen to death for the murder of her Filipino household worker, Jeanelyn Villavende.”
Quoting Philippine Embassy lawyer, Fauzia Salem Al-Sabah, Locsin said that the court’s decision was “fair and in accordance with law and Shariah. I owe the Kuwait ambassador (to the Philippines) a blood debt of gratitude. They took my vow seriously: Blood for blood, life for life. Thank you, Kuwait,” he added.
Philippine envoy to Kuwait, Mohammed Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, said he hoped that the verdict would “serve as a reminder to everyone that no Filipino is a slave to anyone, anywhere, and everywhere, and that justice will always come to the defense of the weak and the oppressed.”
Philippine media reported that Villavende’s relatives were relieved to hear about her murderer’s death sentence. “Now she will suffer the same fate as Jeanelyn,” Villavende’s uncle, Moises, was quoted as saying.
However, they expressed regret at what they described as a lenient sentence for the killer’s husband, as a forensic examination conducted by the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation indicated that Villavende had been tortured and abused for weeks before she died.