Employer of Filipina maid 'found dead in freezer' arrested

Lebanese suspect arrested over Filipina maid's freezer death

Primary suspect in Demafelis murder now in custody of Lebanon: DFA

It issued the statement as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that the suspects behind Demafelis' killing-her employers Nader Essam Assaf and his wife, Mona-were apprehended by Lebanese authorities.

Joanna Demafelis, 29, was found frozen in her employers' apartment more than a year after she was reported missing.

Asked whether the government will hold Demafelis' recruiters accountable for what happened to her, Roque said, "PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) asked NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to summon them".

Assaf and his wife, Mona, a Syrian national, are tagged as principal suspects in the ghastly death of Demafelis, whose remains were recovered inside a freezer in an uninhabited apartment in the Al Shaab district of Kuwait.

Lebanese suspect arrested over Filipina maid's freezer death
Arrest in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid

A Lebanese man suspected in the death of a Filipina maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait has been arrested, the Philippine foreign secretary said on Friday.

Eva (3rd L), the mother of Filipina worker Joanna Demafelis whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait, cries in front of the wooden casket containing her daughter's body shortly after its arrival from Manila at Iloilo International Airport in Iloilo province, central Philippines, on February 17, 2018.

Relatives said she never said anything bad about her employers, but they suspected she was being watched closely.

In Kuwait, Renato Villa, Philippine ambassador, said that he received nearly 6,000 complaints of abuse towards Filipino workers in 2017 alone.

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President Duterte has condemned what he believes is a pattern of abuse against Filipino workers. While many work in lower-paid unregulated jobs, the workers have been hailed as national heroes back home because the money they send back amounts to around 10 percent the country's gross domestic product.

"The ban stays, no deployment of Filipinos whatsoever in Kuwait", Duterte said outside the wake, where streamers and shirts worn by mourners bore messages demanding justice for the maid's death.

Duterte also floated the possibility of expanding to other countries the deployment ban, saying he could no longer stand persistent reports of abuses against OFWs.

As many as ten million Filipinos work overseas, representing a tenth of the country's 100 million population.

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Following their arrests, Cayetano said the DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment will follow Duterte's directive and "vigorously pursue justice" for Demafelis.

Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration reported at least 196 Filipinos had died in Kuwait in the last two years, mostly for unspecified medical reasons but also four from suicide.

News of the story sparked outrage in the Philippines and shed further light on the conditions of Filipina maids and other foreign workers in the Gulf states and elsewhere.

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