By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has welcomed the conviction of a Syrian woman for the death of a Filipina maid found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait last year.
“We welcome the news which means justice has been meted to the culprits, to the killers,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier reported that Syrian Mouna Ali Hassoun, co-accused in the Joanna Demafelis case, has been found guilty of murder. She will reportedly be sentenced to prison from eight to 15 years. The convict’s husband Nader Essam Assaf is still facing trial for murder charges in Lebanon.
“The couple was earlier tried in absentia, found guilty of murder and meted the death penalty in Kuwait,” the DFA said in a statement.
Last year, President Duterte launched a tirade against Kuwait following cases of abuse and exploitation of some Filipino workers.
The brutal death of Demafelis also prompted the President to impose a temporary deployment ban of workers to Kuwait. The controversy eventually triggered negotiations to forge an agreement providing additional protection for Filipino workers in Kuwait.
The deployment ban was later partially lifted following the labor protection pact between the nations.
The President also apologized to Kuwait for “harsh language” used in his past outburst over the reported abuse of some Filipino workers. Duterte earlier said he intends to visit Kuwait after granting his requests for better working conditions for Filipino workers such as seven hours of sleep, access to cellphone and passport, and protection from abuse.