‘Our position is for execution of the culprit’
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 28: The Embassy of the Philippines in Kuwait remains firm in its stand not to negotiate regarding blood money in the case of Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, a Filipino domestic worker who was tortured to death by her female employer due to jealousy. In a report published recently by ABS-CBN News in the Philippines, Ambassador of the Philippines to Kuwait Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot was quoted as saying, “first, we pursued death sentence against the employer. The result is good as the Kuwaiti Criminal Court sentenced the female employer to death.”
The Kuwaiti employer of Villavende killed her on Dec 28, 2019. The Kuwaiti Criminal Court issued a verdict the following year, sentencing the female employer to death by hanging, and the husband to four years imprisonment for covering up and not reporting the crime.
Lomondot went on to say: “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.”
Attorney Sheikha Fawzia Al-Sabah, a Kuwaiti human rights lawyer and the embassy’s lead counsel, affirmed that the court’s ruling is fair and in compliance with the law and Sharia. According to Lomondot, Attorney Fawzia also rejected the request of the lawyer of the other party to negotiate on blood money. He pointed out that neither the embassy nor Attorney Fawzia has the authority to engage in this kind of negotiation. “Our position is for execution of the culprit,” he reiterated. The Sharia Law stipulates that a death sentence may be commuted to life imprisonment 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. Lomondot clarified “it is 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.”
The Kuwait justice system allows the lawyer of the Kuwaiti woman on death row to appeal the death verdict before the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation, provided they can obtain a ‘Tanazul’ or letter of forgiveness from Villavende’s next of kin and present it to the court. Lomondot asserted, “What we want is life for life. You killed, you 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.”
In related news published by Inquirer.net, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr reportedly instructed Lomondot to block an alleged attempt to pay off the murder of Villavende with P7.5 million in ‘blood money’ as justice matters more. Locsin tweeted: “The P7.5 million blood money to pay off this horror is changing hands even as I tweet. On our part we must match the P7.5 million offer to her surviving kin now.” He also instructed Lomondot to ensure that the death sentence on Villavende’s employer would be carried out.
“Malacañang is on to this ignominy. There must be hell to pay if anyone on our side shows ambivalence and a lack of total commitment. This is unforgivable,” he said in another tweet. Villavende’s embalming certificate stated that the cause of death is “acute failure of heart and respiration as result of shock and multiple injuries in the vascular nervous system.” However, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the Philippines conducted another autopsy and this showed that Villavende’s brain, heart, and some internal organs were missing and that she also suffered multiple, severe traumatic injuries, including on her genitals – an indication that she was sexually abused.