Tell it to SunStar: Don’t lift ban yet

DESPITE a Kuwait court’s verdict sentencing to death the Lebanese man and his Syrian wife found guilty of killing Filipino household service worker Joanna Demafelis, President Duterte lifting the total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to the tiny oil-rich emirate.

We totally support the President, who has made it very clear that he wants justice for Joanna, and he wants justice for all Filipino household service workers in Kuwait.

The President wants the Kuwaiti government and (Kuwaiti) employers to respect the basic rights of Filipino household service workers to regular work hours and adequate rest and sleeping hours, regular days off work, and to have physical possession of their own passports.

Meanwhile, we do not expect the punishment meted out to convicts Nader Essam Assaf and his wife, Mona, to be carried out, simply because the Kuwaiti government is not in a position to enforce the judgment.The Kuwaiti government does not have custody of the convicts, so they cannot carry out the penalty.

The husband is Lebanese and is in Lebanon, while the wife is Syrian and is in Syria. Both Lebanon and Syria are separate states from Kuwait. No sovereign state will send its own citizen to another country just to be executed. We are not even sure if the husband is in fact in custody in Lebanon.

As to the wife, she is at large in Syria, which is beset by civil war and has porous borders. There’s no telling where is she now. And the authorities there will not bother looking for her, considering the chaos there.

More than a year after she was reported missing, Demafelis’ body bore torture marks and was found stashed in a freezer in the apartment of the Lebanese man and his Syrian wife. --Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz III
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