Demafelis kin: We don't want to see Joanna's 'illegal recruiter' yet

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Agnes Tuballes says she referred slain OFW Joanna Demafelis to the recruitment agency that sent Joanna to Kuwait.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — The family of slain overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis said despite her explanation, they do not yet want to see the distant relative who referred their sister to the recruitment agency that sent her to Kuwait.

"Sa ngayon po, 'wag muna po [For now, not yet]," said Joanna's brother Joejet in a Thursday interview on CNN Philippines "Newsroom."


His statement came after his Agnes Tuballes, who Joejet said is their third cousin, reached out to the Demafelis family to ask for forgiveness.

"Maghingi talaga ako ng dispensa sa pamilya [I will really ask for forgiveness from the family]," she said in a Thursday press conference.

"Ang plano ko noon, matapos yung libing, pupunta ako doon," Tuballes added. "Dahil hindi ko po ginusto at saka wala rin pong information sa akin na ganun na pala katagal ang nangyari."

[Translation: My plan was to go to them after Joanna's funeral. I didn't want for this to happen and I had no information that she had gone missing for that long.]

Tuballes said Joanna's family could have gone to her house in Iloilo.

"Nandoon lang ako sa bahay. Walang tumawag sa akin," she said.

[Translation: I was just at my house. No one called me.]


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III identified 29-year-old Joanna — who hails from Sara, Iloilo — as the body found inside a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait, where it may have been kept for over a year.

Read: Body of Filipina found in freezer in Kuwait

Authorities said Demafelis had torture marks on her body and there were indications she was strangled to death.

Both of Joanna's employers, the principal suspects in her killing, are in the custody of authorities.

Read: Second suspect in Joanna Demafelis' murder now in Syrian custody

Joejet slammed Tuballes' statement, saying she did not do enough to help Joanna.

"Kung may kusa siya, kung third cousin ko po siya, kung alam niya yung sitwasyon na 'yun, na ganun na yung nangyari, bakit hindi siya yung pumunta sa bahay dito sa kapatid ko or sa magulang ko?" he said.

[Translation: If she had initiative, if she were my third cousin, if she knew the situation, why didn't she go my sister's house or to my parents?]

He also said Tuballes went missing when Joanna's death hit the headlines.

"Kung wala siyang intensyon na (magtago), bakit siya nawala dito sa sine-stay-an nila sa barangay nila?"

[Translation: If she had no intention to go into hiding, why did she disappear from the house she was staying in at their barangay?]

The Demafelis family said they went to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Global E-Human Resources, Inc. — the recruitment agency who sent Joanna to Kuwait — after they lost contact with her in 2016, only to find out that it had been shut down due to recruitment infractions.

Read: Family of OFW found in freezer warns against illegal recruiters

'Illegal recruiter'

Joejet called Tuballes an illegal recruiter for accepting a fee for referring Joanna to the recruitment agency.

Read: Person of interest in Demafelis case denies recruiting slain OFW

"Ang tingin ko, sa lahat ng sinasabi niya, established na illegal recruiter siya," he said. "Binabayaran siya ng ₱13,000 at wala siyang lisensya na mag-recruit."

[Translation: I think with everything she said, it's established that she's an illegal recruiter. She was paid ₱13,000 and she has no license to recruit.]

Meanwhile, Marissa Ansaji Mohammed — the supposed recruitment officer linked to Joanna — said in a Thursday press conference that she was only a trainee tasked to help applicants fill out their application forms at the time of Demafelis' deployment.

She said she had nothing to do with recruitment, selection and deployment and did not even remember Demafelis until her photos came out.

"Sa dami-dami ba naman ng pinapa-fillup ko sa Mt. Carmel hindi ko na talaga siya maalala and four years ago na 'yon e," she said. "Hindi po talaga sir kasi mostly po sir pupumunta ang aplikante sa amin kasi hindi ako allowed mag-recruit sa labas."

[Translation: It would be difficult for me to remember her considering all the forms I had to make people fill out at Mt. Carmel. The incident was four years ago… I really don't remember because most of the applicants approach us since I'm not allowed to recruit people from outside.]

Mohammed showed up at the National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday morning to clear her name.