KUWAIT: The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is closely coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities in investigating the death of Filipino household worker Constancia Lago Dayag. According to Philippine Vice Consul Charleson Hermosura, Dayag was brought to Sabah Hospital in the afternoon of May 14 from Qairawan, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Initial reports said she bore various contusions and hematoma and signs of sexual assault. “We cannot conclude anything so far, because investigations are ongoing. We won’t know what really happened until the forensic investigation report comes out,” said Hermosura.

Constancia Lago Dayag

Dayag, who is from Agadanan in the Philippines, came to work in Kuwait in Jan 2016. She went on vacation after two years and returned to the same employer after a month. “It means that the employer had been good to her. At least based on our initial findings, there were no complaints against her employer prior to this. We assume she wouldn’t have come back if she was not treated well. But just the same, we don’t know the whole scenario as the case is still being investigated. We cannot speculate on the matter,” the vice consul said.

“The embassy is in close coordination with local authorities to gather evidence and investigate the untimely demise. We have assigned a lawyer to handle the Dayag case,” he added. Asked if a deployment ban is possible again after this tragedy, he said: “We don’t know yet – it’s ‘wait and see’ mode by our mission here. The decision will always come from our central government in Manila. In the meantime, we will push on with regular day to day activities here and follow their directives.”

Charge d’affaires of the Philippine Embassy Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot said they have requested Kuwait’s general forensics and evidence department to expedite the release of the forensic report, which is usually processed in four to six weeks.

Earlier, the Philippine Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed condolences to the family of Dayag. The embassy hoped it would not trigger another diplomatic crisis between the two countries as in the case of another Filipina, Joana Demafelis, whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Feb 2018 at an abandoned apartment belonging to a couple who had hired her. The body was believed to have been in the freezer for over a year. Local media in Kuwait noted there was evidence the woman had been tortured and strangled.

The Foreign Ministry said Kuwait is following with concern details of death of the Filipina citizen. In a statement issued by the Department of Consular Affairs, the Ministry offered sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, adding that it is following up with authorities the circumstances of the incident. The statement added that the Philippines’ authorities would be informed of the results of the investigation, stressing that the State of Kuwait has laws that preserves the rights of all residents.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel stressed Kuwait’s keenness on protecting the rights of expat workers and those of domestic helpers in particular, adding that Kuwait does not tolerate any violation of expats’ rights.

Commenting on statements recently made by the Philippines’ minister of labor on the likelihood that his country might ban sending workers to Kuwait following the death of a Filipina housemaid, Aqeel said that investigations are still ongoing and that there is no proof of any assault so far. “Such incidents happen from time to time but cannot be taken as a base to assess Kuwait’s keenness on protecting expat laborers,” Aqeel stressed, noting that Kuwait is a state of institutions and that its judiciary is a safe haven for both citizens and expats.

By Ben Garcia, Agencies