Int’l manhunt launched vs. prime suspects in Demafelis death


ILOILO CITY — The Interpol has launched a manhunt for the prime suspects in the death of a Filipina migrant worker in Kuwait, whose remains arrived in her hometown in Iloilo on Saturday.

“Tayo naman ay nag-aantambay, umaasa na magkakaroon ng hustisya dito (We are just waiting, hoping there would be justice), that the Kuwaiti government would deliver justice to us,” said Hans Leo Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator.

Cacdac accompanied the body of Joanna Daniela Demafelis back to her hometown in Iloilo.

The migrant worker’s body was found inside a freezer in the Al Shaab district of Kuwait on Feb. 9, a year after she had gone missing.

She reportedly sustained broken ribs and internal bleeding before she died.

Investigation and search for the prime suspects are ongoing, Cacdac said in an interview with the media here.

He reiterated what Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday after the arrival of the remains of the victim in Manila.

The prime suspects in the death of Demafelis are her employers, a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife who had already left Kuwait.

“There will be criminal charges definitely under Kuwaiti law. There will be criminal charges to be filed against the suspects,” he said.

They are still awaiting the details on the Interpol’s ongoing manhunt, he added.

“I would think that part of the investigation will be undertaking leads and perhaps some of these leads might be confidential at this stage because of the manhunt,” he said.

Cacdac reiterated OWWA’s support for the family of Joanna and extended their condolences to the family she had left behind.

He said that Joanna, as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), has entitlements and benefits left to the family.

“It is the work of OWWA to make sure that the family receives this lasting legacy from the deceased OFW,” he said.

When asked if President Rodrigo R. Duterte would visit the wake of the victim, Cacdac confirmed that there is a plan.

“I think there will be a proper announcement from the Office of the President. But yes, the President is determined to visit the family and once again to continue the provision of assistance to the family,” he said.
Demafelis’ wake would be at their house in Barangay Ferraris in Sara, Iloilo. The wake may last two weeks, the family said.

Aside from her immediate family, her relatives and residents of Barangay Ferraris travelled for more than two hours going to the airport in Cabatuan town just to meet and collect her body.

They were outside the cargo bay with tarpaulins asking for justice for the slain victim.
At least 30 rented and private vehicles followed the hearse carrying the body going to the funeral home. Cindy Ferrer/