THE alleged recruiter of a Filipino worker (OFW) who was found inside a freezer in Kuwait surfaced on Thursday to clear her name after she was tagged a suspect in her death.
“Gusto ko lang pong linisin ang pangalan ko mula sa iresponsableng pagrereport…binubully na po ang mga anak ko. Sana po kinuha muna ninyo ang side ko,” said Agnes Tuballes, a distant relative of Joanna Demafelis, who broke down during a press conference at the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) headquarters in Camp Crame.
(I just want to clear my name which, because of irresponsible reporting, has been smeared . . my children bullied . . .you should have gotten my side first.)
She vented her ire on a television network that showed her photo, saying, “Hindi po ako suspek. Hindi po ako ang pumatay kay Joanna para ilabas nyo ang picture ko nang walang pahintulot.”
(I am not a suspect. I did not kill Joanna so why did you show my photo without my permission.)
Tuballes said it was Demafelis who approached her and asked for her help to work abroad.
She said all she did was refer Demafelis to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel E-Global, a recruitment agency, which processed her papers so that she could work as a domestic helper in Kuwait.
Tuballes said she did not want Demafelis to die and never wished anyone to die.
Tuballes in Filipino, adding that she was planning to visit the family of Demafelis after her burial to personally express her condolences.
She also said that she has been receiving threats ever since her name was dragged into the case of Demafelis.
Tuballes said she worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong from 2013 to 2016.
She also worked in Qatar in April 2017 then came back to the Philippines to work as a recruitment officer at the Al Madinah Manpower.
Police Director Roel Obusan of PNP-CIDG said Tuballes would be given protection.
He also said that Tuballes was not yet a suspect.
“Just like the NBI, we are still building a case,” said Obusan, referring to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Demafelis was identified on February 9 after she was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
Demafelis employers, a Lebanese-Syrian couple, have since been arrested following a manhunt by the International Police (Interpol).
Demafelis’ death and reports of abuses by Kuwaiti employers against Filipino workers prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order a deployment ban to the Gulf state. ROY NARRA