The family of the pregnant Filipino worker who was raped and murdered in Kuwait has rejected the employer’s “blood money” as settlement for the gruesome crime.
The remains of Jullebee Ranara, a 35-year-old domestic helper, were found in a desert in Kuwait on Jan. 22. Her body arrived in the Philippines on Jan. 27 after an autopsy was conducted in Kuwait.
According to the report, Ranara was pregnant when she was raped, beaten, ran over by a car twice and burnt before she was left for dead in the desert allegedly by her employer’s 17-year-old son, who is now in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities.
A purported relative of Ranara’s employer reportedly reached out to the victim’s family to offer blood money as a settlement for the crime.
On Tuesday, Filipino senator Raffy Tulfo confirmed that the family will not be accepting any financial compensation for the killing allegedly committed by the teenager.
All of them — the father, mother and husband — agreed that they would not accept the blood money. The exact words of the father: Blood for blood. Which means, justice, in exchange for the loss of life. So if the consequence is death penalty, then it will be death penalty. So be it. They do not intend to settle.
The blood money offer has sparked outrage among Ranara’s family and Philippine labor groups.
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“They’re trying to reach out because they know the death of my daughter has become big news in the Philippines and we have gathered national support from the president to ordinary folks — they have all shown their support,” Ranara’s father reportedly said.
Ranara’s mother also dismissed the offer, noting that Filipino lives are not for sale.
“This culture of blood money has to stop,” she told UCA News. “Otherwise, those who are guilty will think that Filipino lives are cheap or always for a price, or that they can buy our lives after our brutal death. No, our lives are not for sale!”
Philippine labor groups demanded a public apology to the Filipino people.
“We will appreciate an apology if it were addressed to the Filipino people, especially crimes committed against the people or a nation, not only to a single individual,” Clarence Jurado, regional leader of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, told UCA News. “Jullebee Ranara is a representative of many overseas Filipino workers whose lives were taken by abusive employers in the Middle East.”
Kuwait’s foreign minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah condemned Ranara’s murder on Tuesday.
The minister, who had met with the Philippine Chargé d’Affaires Jose Cabrera, noted that the actions of the perpetrator “do not in any way reflect the character and values of Kuwaiti society, the Kuwaiti people, and the Kuwaiti government.”
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Secretary Susan Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers personally consoled Ranara’s family at their residence and promised them justice and all necessary support, including burial assistance and scholarships for Ranara’s four children.
While Ranara’s murder has prompted calls for a deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait, Marcos ensured that the Philippine government will be meeting with the Kuwaiti government to determine “weaknesses” in its labor agreement.
“We will make sure that those weaknesses are remedied so that the agreement is stronger,” Marcos said. “We hope this will not happen again to any of our countrymen.”