Filipino lives are not for sale and blood money culture should stop, victim's parents say
Relatives of Jullebee Ranara talk to government officials as they wait for the arrival of her body from Kuwait on Jan. 27. (Photo: courtesy of Rio de Dios)
The family of a Filipino female migrant worker raped and murdered in Kuwait has rejected an offer of “blood money” from her employer, reports say.
The father of the slain worker, Jullebee Ranara, 35, confirmed on Jan. 31 that the family will not accept any amount for the killing allegedly committed by the employer's son, according to Filipino senator, Raffy Tulfo.
“No amount of blood money can ever pay for my daughter’s life. We will let the wheels of justice turn without accepting any settlement. A life for a life,” Tulfo told reporters referring to Ranara’s father's wishes.
Blood money is financial compensation paid by an offender (usually a murderer) or his family to the family of the victim.
"They’re trying to reach out because they know the death of my daughter has become big news"
Ranara’s body arrived in the Philippines on Jan. 27 following an autopsy conducted in Kuwait.
The report said that she was raped, beaten, run over, and burned allegedly by the 17-year-old son of her employer, who is reportedly in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities.
The blood money offer, when a purported relative of Ranara’s employer reached out to her family begging for a settlement, sparked outrage among Ranara’s family and Philippine labor groups.
“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,” said Ranara’s father who declined to give his first name.
Ranara’s mother, who also declined to be named, was equally dismissive of the offer, saying Filipino lives were not for sale.
“This culture of blood money has to stop. 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!,” she told UCA News.
On Jan. 31, Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, condemned Ranara’s murder but neither confirmed nor denied the offer of blood money.
The Philippine embassy in Kuwait said the foreign minister had met with the Philippine Chargé d’Affaires, Jose Cabrera, to express regret to the victim's family and the Philippine government over Ranara's death.
"We will appreciate an apology if it were addressed to the Filipino people"
"He condemned her murder and said that the perpetrator ... will be punished for this heinous crime," Cabrera told reporters on Jan. 31.
The minister reportedly said the actions of the alleged perpetrator "do not in any way reflect the character and values of Kuwaiti society, the Kuwaiti people, and the Kuwaiti government.”
Philippine labor groups, however, demanded a public apology, saying the crime was committed not only against Ranara but also against the people of the Philippines.
“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. Jullebee Ranara is a representative of many overseas Filipino workers whose lives were taken by abusive employers in the Middle East,” Clarence Jurado, regional leader of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, told UCA News.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the Philippine government to do everything possible to ensure justice for the slain worker.
“We strongly urge our government officials to exhaust all the ways and means to attain justice for Jullebee… All perpetrators must be swiftly investigated and prosecuted,” Bishop Narciso Abella, chairman of the CBCP Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People said in a statement.
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