New Kuwaiti autopsy on slain OFW: Abuse began in October
MANILA, Philippines— A new autopsy report from Kuwait has shown that slain overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende was the victim of abuse two months before her death in December last year.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola disclosed this during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on labor headed by Senator Joel Villanueva.
Arriola clarified that the first communication that the Philippine government got from Kuwait stating that Villavende supposedly died of “acute failure of heart was actually a death certificate and not an autopsy report.
“Essentially your honor, I read the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) report and I read also this report. There are some similarities but I’m not an expert…” she told the committee.
“But I think quite interesting here is the contents of the prosecutors’ memorandum that the abuse began in October,” she added.
Arriola submitted a copy of the autopsy report from Kuwait to the committee.
But Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III suspected a cover-up on the first report from Kuwait, which prompted the NBI to conduct its own autopsy.
The NBI autopsy later revealed that Villavende was sexually abused.
Bello, who was also in the hearing, said the NBI’s medico-legal officer who conducted the re-autopsy, turned emotional when he saw the results of the NBI report.
“Parang naiiyak yung ating medico legal kasi sabi nya kung titingnan mo yung tao , yung babae, sabi nya hindi lang yan minaltrato ng lima o sampung araw, mga minaltrato yan ng mga limang buwan,” he said.
So when he met the ambassador of Kuwait, Bello said he relayed his suspicion that the first report sent by Kuwait to the Philippines did not look like an autopsy but rather, a coverup report.
This was probably the reason why, he said, the Kuwaiti government conducted another autopsy.
Bello then told the committee that the NBI conducted a re-autopsy on the victim.
Dr. Ricardo Rodaje, chief medico-legal of NBI, presented to the panel the results of the re-autopsy conducted last January 9, which confirmed the NBI’s earlier findings that Villavende was a victim of sexual abuse.
The NBI re-autopsy also revealed that some of her wounds had been inflicted two to three days or “within her stay” with her employers.
Villavende came to Kuwait as a household service worker in July 2019.
Ferdinand Lavin, NBI deputy director, initially requested the committee to hold a closed-door hearing on the NBI’s re-autopsy report, as the photos, he said, are “very disturbing,” and “highly revolting.”
Lavin’s request was supported by Rodaje.
“And we don’t want to agitate the situation and in respect of the dignity of the family…” Rodaje said.
Edited by MUF
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