By the Philippine News Agency
After the autopsy of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis conducted in Kuwait, Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa on Wednesday confirmed that her body will be sent home to the Philippines on Friday.
On Wednesday afternoon, the envoy went to Al-Sabah Hospital to view the OFW’s remains as part of the Philippine Embassy’s preparations for the repatriation.
Villa said Kuwaiti authorities again reassured the government they are doing their best to locate and arrest the Lebanese employer of Demafelis and his Syrian wife for her murder.
“Nakausap ko pong muli ang opisyal ng Ministry of Interior ng Kuwait, at sinabi nila sa akin na talagang pagsisikapan nilang mahuli yung Lebanese na gumawa ng krimen at pati ang kaniyang Syrian na asawa (I have talked to Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior and they told me that they are doing their best to arrest the couple who committed the crime),” he said.
The envoy added that Kuwait was also “shocked and angered” by the murder.
“Na-shock din ang Kuwait sa krimeng ito at matindi rin ang galit nila sa nangyaring ito at sana nga ay mahuli na sa Lebanon man o sa Syria ang mag-asawang ito (Kuwait authorities were also shocked and angered by the incident and hope that Lebanon or Syria would arrest the couple),” Villa said.
Demafelis, found at an apartment in Al-Shaab, is believed to have been kept inside the freezer for more than a year. The Kuwaiti authorities who stumbled upon the Filipina were originally on their way to serve a court order to evict the apartment tenant.
Initial reports revealed that the Lebanese employer of Demafelis had already left with his Syrian wife in 2016 and was wanted for a series of cases related to bouncing cheques.
In a separate television interview, Villa said autopsy showed Demafelis was beaten and tortured repeatedly, and that before she was stored in a freezer, she was already dead.
The shocking discovery served as the last straw for President Rodrigo R. Duterte who earlier threatened to impose deployment ban in the Gulf state following reports of abuses and maltreatment of Filipinos in the country as domestic workers.
On Monday, the Department of Labor and Employment implemented total ban on deployment to Kuwait.