OFW Villavende sexually abused, battered before death – NBI autopsy

Mara Cepeda
OFW Villavende sexually abused, battered before death – NBI autopsy
Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra says the NBI will submit a formal report on the autopsy results on Jeanelyn Villavende's body on January 13

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Jeanelyn Villavende was sexually abused and physically battered for weeks before she died in the hands of her employer in Kuwait, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

On Sunday, January 12, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) autopsy results on Villavende’s body showed “there were clear indications of sexual abuse.”

Gueverra also said that the Filipina domestic worker had “old healed wounds” indicating that she “had been battered weeks prior to the fateful incident” that led to her death in December 2019. (READ: PH condemns killing of yet another Filipina domestic worker in Kuwait)

The NBI autopsy was conducted by Dr Ricardo Rodaje on Friday, January 10, in Cotabato, near Villavende’s home. Guevarra said that the NBI will be submitting the formal report on the autopsy results on Monday, January 13. 

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III had earlier said the government would impose a total ban for workers in Kuwait if the autopsy results would show Villavende was “gravely beaten to death,” according to an Inquirer report. 

Bello also said that Villavende had informed her recruitment agency of maltreatment and underpayment under her employer as early as September 2019, but her cries went unanswered. – with reports from Lian Buan/Rappler

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.