MALACAÑANG on Saturday, February 24, welcomed the arrest of the principal suspect in the murder of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Joanna Daniela Demafelis in Kuwait.
"We're thankful [for the arrest of one of the suspects in the killing of Demafelis]," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.
Nader Essam Assaf, a Lebanese national who hired Demafelis, was reportedly arrested the same day President Rodrigo Duterte visited Thursday, February 22, the wake of Demafelis in her hometown in Sara, Iloilo.
Assaf is now in the custody of authorities in Lebanon, according to a statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday, February 23.
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.
Reports said Demafelis, whose body was found on February 9 or a year after she was reported missing, sustained broken ribs and internal bleeding before she died.
Roque said the Philippine government was optimistic that Demafelis' killers would be brought to justice in "soonest" time.
"[We're] hoping that they will be prosecuted and punished soonest," he said.
Demafelis' death has prompted Duterte to order the total ban deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait and the immediate repatriation of OFWs from the Arab nation who were granted amnesty.
The President, during his visit to Demafelis' wake, expressed hope that Interpol and Kuwaiti authorities would prosecute the suspects in the brutal murder.
"It behooves upon the police of Kuwait and the Interpol, there's a serious crime. That's their problem," Duterte had said. "If the two [suspects] are arrested, that would allow me now to initiate charges. So by that time, in the fullness of God's time, if they are apprehended and charged, then I will come in." (SunStar Philippines)