Police present Joanna Demafelis’ alleged recruiter to media

Rambo Talabong
Police present Joanna Demafelis’ alleged recruiter to media
(UPDATED) Agnes Tuballes is presented by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The alleged recruiter of Joanna Demafelis, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who went missing for two years only to be found in a freezer in Kuwait,  has presented herself to police to clear her name.

Agnes Tuballes placed herself under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Tussday, February 27. Police presented her in news conference on Thursday, March 1.

The Department of Labor and Employment earlier named the recruiting agency of Demafelis – Our Lady of Mt Carmel Global E-Human Resources Incorporated.

According to CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan, Tuballes did not “recruit” Joanna Demafelis, but instead “referred” her to the recruiting agency.

Referrer or recruiter?  Tuballes insisted that she just referred  Demafelis to her recruiters.

Tuballes, a domestic helper who worked overseas from 2007 to 2016, apparently met a certain Ara Midtimbang in Kuwait. 

Before Tuballes returned to the Philippines to stay with her family, Midtimbang offered to pay her P5,000 per Filipina referred to legitimate recruiting agencies to ultimately be sent to Kuwait. 

Tuballes said that in her search for legitimate recruiting agencies to refer workers to, she and Midtimbang found Our Lady of Mt Carmel Global E-Human Resources Inc.

While she was not an employee of the recruitment agency, Tuballes and Our Lady of Mt Carmel shared the same building in their operations, Obusan said. 

Joanna Demafelis link: According to Tuballes, Demafelis sought her help in searching for a job in 2014.

“Chinat ako ni Joanna, sabi ‘nya, ‘Tita, piwede mo ba akong tulungan? Gusto ko mag-abroad. Ni-recommend ko siya sa Our Lady of Mt Carmel,” Tuballes told reporters.

(Joanna chatted with me [on social media], saying, ‘Tita, can you help me? I want to go abroad. I recommended her to Our Lady of Mt Carmel.)

At Mt Carmel, Demafelis met Mariz Asanji, who fixed her papers before her deployment to Kuwait.

According to Tuballes, she lost contact with Demafelis after she began working in the West Asian country. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.