DFA accused of mishandling beheaded OFW’s remains

(Updated 12:07 p.m., Sept. 9) The widow of the Filipino construction worker who was beheaded by rebels in Libya has derided the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for allegedly mishandling the remains of her husband.

During Monday's hearing for the proposed DFA budget for 2015 at the the House of Representatives, Maribel Espares said the agency did not even bother to ensure that her husband's severed head was attached to his body when it was shipped back to the Philippines.

She said her husband's remains were covered in sawdust, mud and leaves when it arrived in the country late August.

“Puro buhangin at putik ‘yung katawan ng asawa ko tapos may mga dahon-dahon din. Di naman po ‘yun ang ini-expect kong makita dahil ang sabi ko nga, kahit bulok na ‘yung katawan, basta siguradong nakadugtong na ‘yung ulo niya,” a tearful Espares told reporters at the sidelines of the hearing.

Photos presented by Espares to the media showed her husband’s remains covered in dirt inside a morgue.

Libyan rebels abducted Antonio Espares last July 15. An initial ransom of $160,000 or P6.9 million was demanded by the kidnappers. Four days later, his body was discovered in a state of advanced decomposition at a hospital.

Espares said her husband's head had to be sewn back to his body by a local funeral parlor. He was laid to rest in Taguig on September 5.

The issue was tackled during the hearing, where Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Yabes told lawmakers that Mr. Espares' head was likely detached from his body when it was transported from Libya to the Philippines.

After getting flak from Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario apologized to Espares and the lawmakers. "We apologize, and we hope to do a better job next time,” he said.

Espares, however, refused to accept Del Rosario's apology, according to a report on "Saksi" Monday night. —with Rouchelle Dinglasan/KBK, GMA News


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