By Ben Rosario
An opposition lawmaker believes President Duterte will reject moves to partially lift the total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait, saying that a brilliant lawyer like the chief executive knows that justice has not yet been served to murdered overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis.
In a press statement, Rep. Anicete “John” Bertiz Jr., who represents an OFW partylist, said that despite the penalty of death that Kuwait imposed on the couple accused of killing Demafelis, it remains doubtful it will be carried out.
“Both Lebanon and Syria as separate states from Kuwait. No sovereign state will send its own citizen to another country just to be executed,” said Bertiz as he pointed out that appeals for the extradition of the couple have remained unanswered by the Syrian and Lebanese government.
Tried by Kuwait courts, Lebanese Nader Essam Assaf is still in the custody of his government while his Syrian wife, Mouna Hassoun, remains at-large, reportedly currently in hiding in her country.
The two have been found guilty of murdering Demafelis whose body was found stuffed inside a freezer discovered in their abandoned house in Kuwait.
“We totally support the President, who has made it very clear that he wants justice for Joanna, and he wants justice for all Filipino household service workers in Kuwait,” said Bertiz of ACTS-OFW partylist.
“The President wants the Kuwaiti government and (Kuwaiti) employers to respect the basic rights of Filipino domestic workers to regular work hours and adequate rest and sleeping hours, regular days off work, and to have physical possession of their own passports,” Bertiz said.
He added: “The President wants the Kuwaiti government to commit to enforce these rights so that employers there will comply,” Bertiz said.
Duterte was categorical in stating that he wants the Kuwaiti government and employers there to agree to his terms first before he would consider lifting the deployment ban.