• Palace wants Demafelis’ suspects ‘prosecuted, punished soonest’ 


    MALACANANG is hoping that authorities will prosecute and punish the suspects in the killing of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait in 2016.

    The Palace statement comes after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Friday evening the arrest of Demafelis’ employer, Nader Essam Assaf, by Lebanese authorities.

    Palace spokesman Harry Roque welcomed the development but expressed hope that justice would be fully served.

    “We’re thankful but hoping that they will be prosecuted and punished soonest,” Roque told reporters in a text message on Saturday.

    Assaf and his Syrian wife, Mona, were identified as the principal suspects in the torture and murder of the 29-year-old domestic helper.

    Asked if the government would hold Demafelis’ recruiters accountable for what happened to her, Roque said, “PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) asked NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to summon them.”

    Demafelis’ remains were found in a freezer in early February in an apartment abandoned by her employers in Kuwait.  An autopsy report showed she was severely beaten before being placed in the freezer more than a year ago.

    This prompted President Duterte to implement a total ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, and to order the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to facilitate the repatriation of all Filipino workers within 72 hours.


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