Brutalized body of Filipina OFW brought home from Kuwait

Joanna Demafelis. Image © CNN Philippines

THE Kuwaiti government will exert all efforts to bring the murderers of Joanna Daniela Demafelis to justice.

This was disclosed by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday, in an interview with reporters while waiting for the remains of Demafelis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. He said Gulf state’s government was outraged by Demafelis’ murder.

Demafelis’ body was found stuffed in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.

Furthermore, Cayetano said reports from Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa indicated that the initial autopsy revealed that Demafelis was beaten several times before she died. She had broken ribs, internal bleeding, contusions and trauma all over the body, including the pelvis and kidneys, indicating that she was brutalized before being killed.

Consequently, Cayetano said, due to Demafelis’ death, government agencies will now be more aggressive in protecting OFWs.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano

“We are now working as a one-team approach from the undersecretary level down to the director level, down to the people on the ground. We’re putting a system of communications with our millions of OFWs abroad due to many cases of abuse,” Cayetano said adding that “Her death was very tragic, but will also be a rallying point for all of the government agencies to be more aggressive abroad in helping OFWs.”

It will be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte last week said Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait who want to go home may be repatriated within the next 72 hours. He issued the statement after Demafelis was found dead.

“I want them out of (Kuwait), those who want to go out, in 72 hours. We will count our lives by the hours because apparently, every hour, there is suffering and agony, brutality committed against Filipinos,” Duterte, in a press conference, said.

The Philippines suspended the deployment of workers to Kuwait last January due to the series of questionable deaths of Filipinos there in that Arab state.

Duterte said the deployment ban will stay until the government is sure that overseas workers are safe in Kuwait, where 103 Filipinos died in 2017, up from 82 the previous year.

“I am ready to take drastic steps that will help preserve Filipino life and limb. We do not intend to offend any government or anyone. But if a ban is what is needed, then let it be so,” Duterte said.

“The ban continues today and I don’t know up to what time,” he added.

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Demafelis’ battered remains arrived from Kuwait at the country’s premier airport shortly after 10 am. on board Gulf Air flight GF154 with her siblings – sister Jessica and brother Jojjt – who both said their family wants justice. Her body will be flown to Iloilo on Saturday for the wake and burial.

According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Demafelis’ body may have been stuffed inside the freezer sometime in November 2016, when her employers, a Lebanese who was identified as Nader Essam Assaf and his Syrian wife left Kuwait. Unfortunately, the Gulf state’s police authorities have yet to find them.

Demafelis body was discovered after a Kuwaiti court ordered the opening of her Lebanese employer’s apartment as he is wanted by the authorities in connection with several cases of check falsification.


  1. Pingback: Brutalized body of Filipina OFW brought home from Kuwait - Duterte Daily

  2. Mabuti nman BAN na..dati ofw kuwait ako pero company kami as caregiver home witness ko dati ibang katulong di lng pinoy grabe pagod at hirap nila.bigat pa ngbtrabaho nila.iba di man lng bigyan ng pagkain..kaya dati pag nag duty ako sa client ko, ako nlng mismo magdadala ng pgkain at mgluluto ako sa bahay or accomodation nmin sa man lng mawala pagod nila at gutom.sana mabigyan din hustisya ang mga biktima ng pang aabuso.di sila hayop nga inaalagaan mo.tao pa kaya..wla sino man din ang may karapatan kunin ang buhay mo.isa ako sa masaya naBAN na ang kuwait..sana makita din nila sa ibang bansa din.Godbless

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