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Pinoy Abroad

Remains of slain Pinay in Kuwait to be repatriated Friday — DFA

The remains of the Filipina household worker who was brutally slain in Kuwait will be brought home Friday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

At a press briefing Thursday, Foreign Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo De Vega said the employer of Jullebee Cabilis Ranara, whose burnt body  was found on Sunday in the desert, have agreed to shoulder the repatriation expenses to Manila.

De Vega declined to provide more details on Ranara's case "out of respect" to her family.



Based on initial information from official sources, the DFA said a suspect has been arrested and detained by Kuwaiti Police.

"The embassy is obtaining official confirmation from Kuwaiti authorities on the details and tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Ranara that were reported in English and Arabic news media in Kuwait," a DFA statement said.

Reports from Kuwait media said the arrested perpetrator who confessed to the crime is the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employer.

The 35-year-old Filipino maid was allegedly raped and impregnated by the Kuwaiti teenager.

"The embassy greatly appreciates the swift action and response of the Kuwaiti Police, especially in the apprehension of the suspected perpetrator, and in the investigation of Ms. Ranara’s death," the DFA said.

De Vega said the Embassy will continue to coordinate with the Kuwaiti Government for the resolution of the case, adding that a new lawyer was hired by the DFA.

“We have an embassy funded lawyer on retainer, who handles not just this case but all cases of Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait. He has been assisting the ambassador and vice consul in discussions with the Kuwaiti prosecutor in the pursuit of justice for Jullebee,” De Vega said in Sandra Aguinaldo’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday.

“The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) announced that they are hiring a lawyer or they have hired a lawyer. We will give way to them if that is the case,” he added.

Rising incidents of abuses against Filipino domestic helpers, where some resulted to death, prompted the Philippine government in 2018 to enforce a deployment ban, sparking a diplomatic row between the two states.

The ban was partially lifted after a labor pact, which commits Kuwait to provide protection to Filipino workers, was signed in May 2018, signaling normalization of the two countries’ relations. The ban was lifted February 2020.

Kuwait is a major labor destination for Filipinos in the Middle East, with over 250,000 currently working there, mostly as domestic helpers. 

According to Chino Gaston’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday, the embassy hired a private lawyer for filing of charges against the suspect.

The DMW said the private lawyer will help the public prosecutors since the suspect is a minor.

“The suspect is a minor. Well, that's exactly the reason why we are retaining our legal services to be able to navigate 'yung criminal justice system sa Kuwait,” DMW spokesperson Toby Nebrida said in Chino Gaston’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday.

“Mabilis naman 'yung, for example, 'yung arrest ano and then 'yung nahanap 'yung remains in less than 24 hours after she was reported missing wala kaming nakikitang hadlang doon sa coordination work that is being done,” Nebrida said.

Apart from the death benefits and insurance claims, Ranara’s four children will also receive educational scholarships which are part of the benefits provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Senator Imee Marcos also provided financial assistance and groceries to Ranara’s family.—With Richa Noriega/ RSJ, GMA Integrated News