Malacañang yesterday said the deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait stays until the employers of Joanna Demafelis, the domestic helper who was found dead inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, are punished.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that this was the last statement made by President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Demafelis’ wake in Sara, Iloilo last week.
Roque said that statement was made in spite of the arrest of Demafelis’ couple employers, Lebanese Nader Essam Assaf and his Syrian wife Mona Hassoun on Thursday.
“The deployment ban stays because (that was) the latest statement made by the President when he visited the wake of Joanna and he said that not only must they be apprehended, they must be punished,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque, however, welcomed the arrest of Demafelis’ employers but said that they should also be prosecuted and punished.
“We certainly appreciate the arrest of two of Joanna’s employers. However, in addition to the arrest we would want to see them prosecuted and punished for the murder of Joanna,” Roque said.
Roque, meanwhile, said that Duterte has also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the recruitment agency responsible for deploying Demafelis to Kuwait, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Global E-Human Resources Incorporated.
“He (Duterte) wanted NBI to question the recruiters because under our scheme, the local recruiters are ultimately liable for what happens to the Filipino deployed by the agencies for overseas,” Roque said.
Roque said that if representatives from Demafelis’ recruitment agency will not appear before the NBI, they can be taken into custody for investigation.
“If they (recruiters) will not appear, they could be taken into custody for investigation. But let’s see if they will voluntarily appear,” he added.
Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has also ordered the NBI to conduct a probe against Demafelis’ recruiter.
Aguirre issued Department Order (DO) No.102 dated Feb. 26 directing NBI Director Dante Gierran to “conduct investigation and case build-up over possible liabilities of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Global E-Human Resources Incorporated”in relation to the death of the 29-year-old OFW from Iloilo.*PNA
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