MANILA The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on Monday welcomed the reported decision of a Kuwaiti court to mete out the death sentence to the principal suspects in the murder of Filipina domestic worker Joanna Demafelis.
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Kuwaiti authorities informed DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola of the court decision during a meeting on Sunday but did not provide additional details.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, however, was able to obtain a copy of the court order and is now waiting for a formal notification from Kuwaiti authorities.
We take note of the swift action taken by Kuwaiti authorities in connection with the murder of our kababayan Joanna Demafelis, Cayetano said in a statement. This is a very important development in our quest for justice for Joanna."
We continue to look forward to the cooperation of our friends not only in Kuwait but also in Lebanon and Syria in our efforts to bring this case to a close, he said.
News wires on Sunday attributed to a judicial official in Kuwait that principal suspect Assaf and his Syrian wife Mouna Hassoun were tried in absentia and sentenced to death for killing the 29-year-old Filipina domestic worker.
The couple fled Kuwait immediately after the murder last year but they were identified after Demafelis' body was discovered by authorities inside a freezer in their abandoned apartment in February.
The murder of Demafelis, along with reported abuses of Filipino household workers in the Gulf state, had earlier pushed President Rodrigo R. Duterte to impose a total deployment ban of new Filipino workers in Kuwait. At present, the ban is still in effect.
Source: Philippine News Agency