By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
Malacañang yesterday welcomed the death sentence imposed by a Kuwaiti court on the employers of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis.
Despite this, Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the total deployment ban ordered by President Duterte on overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait remains.
Guevarra said the ban will be lifted when a memorandum of understanding on the welfare of OFWs between the Philippines and Kuwait is finally signed.
“The total ban on sending OFWs to Kuwait is still on. But of course, an agreement, a memorandum of understanding is being formulated and hopefully, the state parties will come to terms as to how our OFWs in Kuwait, as well as in other Middle Eastern countries, will be protected. So basically that will be a solution to this total ban about sending OFWs to Kuwait,” Guevarra said.
“I think it’s still the agreement between the countries in the manner of treating our OFWs that will matter. Not the matter of the couple being brought to justice,” he added.
Guevarra added that President Duterte may have heard the news and asked the Department of Foreign Affairs for confirmation.
“By this time, the President might have heard that news that was picked up abroad. And directive given by the President was for the DFA, through the mission in Kuwait, to find out, to verify whether in fact if such an event took place,” Guevarra said.
“Of course the President, I suppose the entire Filipino people, will be happy to know that that is true. Siyempre, that’s what we want – justice for Demafelis. So let’s hope that in fact, that is true and that the couple will actually be apprehended and brought to the bars of justice,” he added.
The court sentenced the employers of Demafelis – Lebanese Nader Essam Assaf and Syrian wife Mona Hassoum – in absentia on Sunday after they were convicted for killing her.
They were arrested in Syria last February following an International Police Organization manhunt.
Demafelis was beaten to death by her employers and was stuffed inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait and her remains were found last February.