Employer sued after pet lion kills Filipino maid

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Philippines government has launched legal action against the Kuwaiti employer of a Filipino guest worker who died after being mauled by a pet lion, Philippine media reported Saturday.

Lourdes Abejuela, 50, died days after being attacked by the lion as she hung out laundry on Dec. 6.

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay said a criminal negligence complaint had been filed by the country’s consul general in Kuwait City against Abejuela's employer, broadcaster ABS-CBN reported.

In a statement, Binay said: “Consul General Raul Dado has informed me that they already filed a case against the employer and that the Philippine embassy in Kuwait is doing everything to repatriate the body as soon as possible.”

Abejuela, of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental province, suffered deep bite wounds to her left leg, friend Nieva Edullantes told the network.

In an interview aired Friday, Edullantes, who also works in Kuwait, added: "I cried. It hurt. We left our families in the Philippines and then this had happened to her. I want justice to be served."

ABS-CBN reported the initial police investigation had found that the lion’s cage was left unlocked. Under Kuwaiti law, wild animals cannot be kept as pets.

Edullante said the lion’s owners misled the hospital and claimed Abejuela had been attacked by a dog. “So she was immediately discharged," Edullante said, adding that Abejuela had worked as a maid for the same employer for 15 years.

Abejuela's boyfriend Danny Lagrimas told ABS-CBN she was rushed back to hospital on Dec. 7 but died three days later.

Binay said the Philippine embassy was investigating reports of negligence at the hospital.

The thousands of Filipino overseas workers in the Middle East, Europe and other Asian countries are known as "unsung heroes" in the Philippines because of the huge sums of money they send home, a significant boost to the country’s economy.

Some fall victim to cruel employers who treat them as little more than slaves.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency