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Bello identifies body found in freezer

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III answers a reporter’s question on deployment of Filipino workers to Bahrain in a news conference of Cabinet workers who accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte to the kingdom on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. (Photo from a video by the President Communications Operations Office)

The lifeless body of a woman found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait has been identified as a Filipina domestic helper who had worked for a Lebanese-Syrian couple.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Joanna Daniela Dimapilis, 29, of Sara town, Iloilo, was the woman discovered in a freezer in the apartment of her employers recently.

Interpol alert

“The man is Lebanese, his wife is Syrian. They are being hunted and the minister of the interior of Kuwait has alerted the Interpol. They have an address in Lebanon. We expect that they will be arrested,” Bello said in a DZBB radio interview on Friday.

The couple reportedly fled Kuwait in 2016 after an arrest warrant was issued for the Lebanese man in connection with cases related to fake checks.

Sitting position

Bello said Dimapilis was found in a sitting position, with the arms crossed. It was possible that she was already dead when her body was stuffed into the freezer, he added.

“Through her fingerprints we were able to identify her,” the labor secretary said, adding that the body had frozen for more than a year.

The Department of Labor and Employment had earlier suspended the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait in January, on orders of President Duterte.

Abuses, maltreatment

Mr. Duterte had said the deaths of seven OFWs in the oil-rich kingdom were the result of the abuses and maltreatment by their employers.

Bello said it was still uncertain if the President would pursue a total deployment ban in Kuwait after the freezer death of the Filipino woman.

“Our President is affected by the deaths and suicides of our countrymen there. It was good that the employer was not a Kuwaiti in this case, or else the President might push through with [the ban],” he added.

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