MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Lebanese man suspected within the demise of a Filipina maid whose physique was discovered stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait has been arrested, the Philippine international secretary mentioned Friday.
Alan Peter Cayetano mentioned he has informed President Rodrigo Duterte concerning the arrest in Lebanon of Nader Essam Assaf however added that Assaf’s Syrian spouse, who can be a suspect within the demise of Joanna Demafelis, stays at giant.
The invention of Demafelis’s physique on Feb. 6 within the residence in Kuwait Metropolis, the place it had reportedly been stored for greater than a 12 months, sparked outrage and refocused consideration on the tragic plight of poor Filipinas toiling principally as maids overseas. It prompted Duterte to ban the deployment of recent Filipino employees to Kuwait, the place many abuses have been reported.
Assaf and his spouse employed Demafelis. Duterte and different officers have requested Kuwaiti authorities to hunt for the couple.
“Assaf’s arrest is a important first step in our quest for justice for Joanna and we’re grateful to our buddies in Kuwait and Lebanon for his or her help,” Cayetano mentioned in a press release, including that he expects Kuwait will search Assaf’s extradition.
After attending Demafelis’s wake on Thursday in her hometown of Sara within the central Philippines, Duterte informed reporters the ban on the deployment of Filipino employees to Kuwait would proceed and may very well be expanded to different nations.
Duterte mentioned Demafelis’s physique bore torture marks and indicators that she was strangled. He mentioned the federal government is conducting an evaluation to “discover out the locations the place we deploy Filipinos and our countrymen undergo brutal remedy and human degradation.”
The Philippines is a serious labor exporter with a couple of tenth of its greater than 100 million folks working overseas. The employees have been known as nationwide heroes as a result of the revenue they ship residence sustains the Southeast Asian nation’s economic system, accounting for about 10 % of its annual gross home product.
Philippine officers are beneath growing strain to do extra to watch the protection of the employees, who’re principally maids, building employees and laborers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III informed a Senate listening to that he recalled three labor officers from Kuwait to be investigated over their failure to behave on a request by Demafelis’s household for assist after she went lacking in January final 12 months, he mentioned.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Abroad Staff Welfare Administration reported not less than 196 Filipinos had died in Kuwait within the final two years, principally for unspecified medical causes but additionally 4 from suicide.
Monitoring their wellbeing is tough as a result of sheer numbers of employees but additionally by improper documentation. Almost 11,000 of the greater than 252,000 Filipino employees in Kuwait are there illegally or should not correctly licensed.