Joanna Demafelis’ family wishes death for her killers

MANILA, Philippines – An eye for an eye.

This is the kind of justice the Demafelis family wants for Joanna, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was killed in Kuwait then stuffed in a freezer for almost two years.

So when news broke that the suspects in Joanna's killing – the couple who employed her – had been sentenced to hanging, the family rejoiced.

"'Yun naman 'yung hiningi po namin eh.... Kung kayo rin iniisip 'nyo rin po 'yung sitwasyon ng kapatid ko eh kailangan [silang] mahatulan po [ng bitay], hindi p'wedeng kulong lang," Joanna's brother, Joejet, told Rappler in a phone interview on Monday, April 2.

(That's our only wish.... If you think about what happened to my sister, they (suspect) deserve to be sentenced to death, it can't just be detention.)

Joejet said it was one of their prayers when Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle washed their feet on Maundy Thursday, March 29.

"No'ng time po na invited kami sa washing of the feet kay Cardinal Tagle, 'yan 'yung pinagpe-pray namin dahil sana makamit na ng kapatid ko 'yung hustisya na mahatulan sila ng bitay," Joejet added. 

(When we were invited for the washing of the feet with Cardinal Tagle, that's really what we prayed for, that our sister is given justice by sentencing [the suspects] to death.)

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano noted the "swift action taken by Kuwaiti authorities" in Demafelis' case. 

"This is a very important development in our quest for justice for Joanna," Cayetano said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.