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Remains of OFW slain in South Korea back in hometown in Iloilo

/ 09:12 PM May 27, 2018
Angelo Claveria coffin

The skeletal remains of OFW Angelo Claveria lie at the Claveria residence in Cabatuan town in Iloilo after it arrived from South Korea (Photo by NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / Inquirer Visayas)

CABATUAN, Iloilo — A wooden box about four feet long and just a little more than a foot in width and height. The skeletal remains of slain overseas Filipino worker Angelo Claveria arrived in this box in his hometown here Sunday morning from South Korea, two and half years after he last contacted his family.

His remains arrived around 9:30 a.m. at the Iloilo International Airport here accompanied by officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Claveria’s family, who received his remains at the airport, called for justice in his killing, for which South Korean authorities had tagged a Filipino co-worker of Claveria’s as a suspect.

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Relatives wore white shirts printed with a call for justice for their loved one.

“You [the suspect] should come out, the demon that you are, and answer for what you did to my brother,” Jeanette Claveria-Gallego, Claveria’s younger sister, said in an interview with the INQUIRER at the wake of her brother on Rizal Street at the town center.

Gallego said the pain caused by her brother’s death was aggravated by the way he died and because a fellow Filipino and co-worker could be responsible.

Claveria, 34, was believed to have been struck in the head before his body was dumped in a water purifying tank of a factory in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province in South Korea.

The Korea Times reported the discovery on April 3 by workers cleaning the tank of human bones wrapped in a jacket.

DNA samples taken from the bones matched those from Claveria’s family.

The South Korean police are eyeing another OFW as a suspect. But the suspect was believed to have gone home to the Philippines.

Claveria, 34, the seventh of nine siblings, left for South Korea in 2014 to work as a metal cutter. He last went home for a brief vacation in October 2015, according to Gallego.

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She said the last time he contacted them was on Christmas Day that year.

Starting January 2016, they tried to call him through Facebook messenger or by mobile phone but they only got cryptic replies telling them to instead send messages instead of calling.

They later suspected that the person responding to their messages was not Claveria because the person apparently do not understand Kinaray-a, the local language.

Gallego appealed for the government’s help in getting regular updates on the investigation on her brother’s death.

“What we know is what we learn from news reports,” she said.

Citing accounts of her brother’s friends, Gallego said the male suspect allegedly made romantic advances on the victim but was rejected.

The government through the OWWA provided financial assistance and benefits to the Claveria’s family including a death benefits amounting to P200,000 and P20,000 in burial assistance.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar visited the wake of Claveria Sunday afternoon and handed over the assistance of the government, including President Rodrigo Duterte.

Go said the government would exert all efforts to give justice to the family.

“The President wants immediate justice,” he told reporters at the wake.

Claveria’s case will be brought up by the President during his scheduled visit to South Korea on June 3, according to Go.

Go handed over P20,000 in cash from his office and a P220,000 check as burial assistance and death benefits provided by the government.

Gallego said relatives were grateful for the help, especially from the President.

But she said they were hoping that her brother’s death would not be used for political ends.

Go has been touted by the President’s supporters as one of the senatorial candidates in the 2019 national and local elections.

Tarpaulin streamers with messages and images of Go were plastered at the wake and along the street leading to the house.

One streamer read: “Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, ang Senador sang mga Ilonggo!”

After visting Claveria’s wake Go and Andanar proceeded to the wake of Pfc. Vicente Marcon at Barangay Ingas, also in Cabatuan.

Marcon was one of two soldiers slain in a clash with suspected New People’s Army rebels on May 12 in Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental. /atm

Bong Go poster

A streamer supporting calls for Christopher “Bong” Go, special assistant to the president, to run for senator is displayed near the wake of slain OFW Angelo Claveria (Photo by NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / Inquirer Visayas)

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