Close  

2,000 people attend Joanna Demafelis funeral in Iloilo

/ 05:50 PM March 03, 2018

Mourners, family members and supporter filled the St. John the Baptist Church for the funeral service of Joanna Danniela Demafeliz. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SARA, Iloilo — She’s not a family member. But Illianie Mardigal traveled more than 100 km from her hometown in Cabatuan town in Iloilo to Sara town on Saturday afternoon just to attend the funeral of Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina domestic helper whose body was kept inside the freezer in Kuwait after her employers killed her.

Mardigal said she wanted to show her support to the family because she too was a victim of abuse by her employer when she was working in Kuwait.

ADVERTISEMENT

Unlike Demafelis, she said she was lucky enough to escape.

While she was in Kuwait, her employer didn’t feed her for days, she said. Fortunately, she was able to escape.

FEATURED STORIES

“I came here to show my sympathy to the family. I can feel the pain of the family. I was also a victim of abuse,” Mardigal said in Hiligaynon.

Burial

At least 2,000 people showed their support to the family as they laid Demafelis to rest at Virgin Island Cemetery in Sara.

Many of them wore a white shirt with prints in front that read: “Justice for Joanna.”

Among those who attended were Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Cacdac.

In an interview, Bello said the family could attend the hearing of the case filed against Nader Essam Assaf, a Lebanese national, and his Syrian wife, Mona, for the torture and murder of the domestic helper.

He said the family’s transportation and other expenses in Kuwait would be shouldered by the government.

Promise

Bello also said the government would fulfill its promise to redeem the land of the family, which had been pawned, one of the reasons Demafelis decided to work in Kuwait.

ADVERTISEMENT

Demafelis’ funeral gave families of other distressed overseas Filipino workers opportunity to approach Cacdac and seek his help.

Cacdac then gave his contact details to these families.

The family expressed their gratitude to the government for the help it extended to them.

“The family is thankful to the President as well as all government agencies and nongovernment organizations that expressed their sympathy to Joanna,” said Pedro Demafelis, uncle of the slain domestic helper and councilor of barangay Feraris where the family comes from.

Problems

Demafelis said they had read in news reports that there might be problems extraditing the couple from the Lebanon to Kuwait due to some laws.

But he said their wish remained that the suspects be prosecuted and punished, whether the case would be tried in Kuwait, where the crime happened, or in Lebanon where the couple were arrested.

If possible, he added the capital punishment be handed on the couple because “buhay ang kinuha nila, dapat buhay din ang kabayaran (they took a life so they should also pay it with their lives).”

The remains of Demafelis were brought to the St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Sara about 1 p.m. on Saturday for a Requiem Mass officiated by retired Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.

Joanna

After the Mass, she was brought to the cemetery where she was buried.

Some of Demafelis’ classmates could not hold back their tears during the funeral.

“Joanna loves her family so much. When we were in high school, she would always tell us of her plan to go abroad someday to help her family,” one classmate said.

But she was killed while trying to achieve her dreams to make a better life for her loved ones. –With reports from Connie Fernandez-Brojan, Inquirer Visayas

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Burial, domestic helper, Hans Cacdac, Iloilo, Joanna Demafelis, Kuwait, Silvestre Bello III
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
newsinfo

11 suspected NPA rebels surrender in Masbate

October 18, 2019 09:27 AM

newsinfo

Quezon bags 2nd SGLG award from DILG

October 18, 2019 09:14 AM

newsinfo

Navotas City fire: 200 houses razed

October 18, 2019 08:37 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.