Slain OFW in Kuwait Joanna Demafelis laid to rest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) — Joanna Demafelis, the overseas Filipino worker who was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait, was laid to rest in her hometown in Sara, Iloilo on Saturday.

Hundreds gathered for Demafelis' burial, two weeks after her remains were flown from Kuwait to Manila, then to Iloilo.

Family, friends, and sympathizers were wearing white shirts with Demafelis' photo and the words, "Justice for Joanna Demafelis."

A mass was held for her at the St. John the Baptist Church.

Authorities on February 9 confirmed Demafelis' death. She was 29.

Officials said her bruised body was found inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait in January, a year after she had gone missing. She flew to Kuwait to work as a domestic helper in 2014.

When she was found, Demafelis had torture marks on her body and there were indications she had been strangled to death, authorities said. Her family said Joanna went through so much abuse.

"'Yung kabila ng mukha...'saka 'yung kamay niya. Durog-durong na ba 'yung buto. 'Saka yung bewang, 'saka yung ribs parang durog na," her father Crisanto said when he saw Joanna's body on February 19.

[Translation:The side of the face...and her hand. The bones were crushed. And her waist and ribs, they seemed crushed.]

READ: OFW found dead in freezer in Kuwait suffered grave physical abuse - PH envoy  

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa said Kuwaiti authorities are preparing murder charges against Demafelis' employers, Nader Essam Assaf and wife Mona Hassoun.

Assam, a Lebanese national, is in the custody of Lebanese officials. While Hassoun, a Syrian national, is with Syrian authorities.

Villa said Kuwaiti officials would ask that both be extradited, but mentioned there could be laws preventing that.

READ: DFA seeks transfer of OFW murder suspects to Kuwait  

Villa told CNN Philippines Assaf's mother is saying it was Hassoun who was hurting Demafelis.

The couple faces death by hanging in Kuwait if proven guilty of killing Demafelis, Villa said.

Joanna's death has sparked calls for better treatment of OFWs.

Following her death, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the repatriation of OFWs who want to come home from Kuwait. The government also banned the deployment of new-hires to the Arab country.

READ: Duterte wants distressed OFWs home from Kuwait in 72 hours  

The government is also cracking down on Demafelis' allegedly illegal recruiters.

Kuwait has been a top destination for Filipino workers, mostly domestic helpers. Latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration state around 240,000 Filipinos are working in that country as of 2016.