DOJ to probe recruiter of slain OFW in Kuwait

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8)— The Justice Department on Wednesday said it will investigate the individuals and agency behind the recruitment of Jeanelyn Villavende – the Filipina domestic worker who was killed in Kuwait.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told CNN Philippines’ The Source that the probe will commence “as soon as possible”— with the National Bureau of Investigation also set to conduct its own autopsy of Villavende’s body.

“If there is ground to charge these people with violations of our laws governing the deployment of foreign workers abroad, then the DOJ will take the appropriate action to investigate and prosecute these people,” Guevarra said.

“We have not commenced any investigation; we're just about to start this investigation because the body still has to be autopsied,” he added.

An embalming certificate released by the Kuwait's Ministry of Health has confirmed that Villavende was killed on December 28, 2019. She died of "acute failure of heart and respiration" as a result of shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system. She was 26.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration administrator Hans Cacdac previously confirmed Villavende’s remains are expected to be back in the country by Wednesday or Thursday.

The suspects— the couple of the household where the Filipina worked— are now detained.

Villavende’s case— along with other reported “maltreatments and deaths” of overseas workers in the Gulf state— prompted the Philippine government to impose a partial deployment ban to Kuwait. The ban, which took effect on Friday, covers newly-hired household service workers.

Labor Secretary Silverstre Bello III, however, earlier said the move may be lifted if Kuwaiti courts take appropriate action on the Filipina’s case.