Pinay choked, set on fire by 3 Indian nationals in Kuwait

By Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Feb 21 2014 10:28 AM | Updated as of Feb 21 2014 11:35 PM

Estrella Cabacungan Gonzales

KUWAIT – A Filipina engaged in lending activity was killed by three Indian nationals who borrowed money from her.

Friends for Estrella Cabacungan Gonzales could not come to terms with her death. She was killed inside an apartment unit she shared with friends in Farwaniya.

"Gusto ko pong malaman ang katotohanan. Na-shock po ako. Hindi ko po alam ang gagawin ko po nung time na yon po," said housemate Mary Jane Jacinto.

Initial investigation showed that Gonzales was choked to death and her body doused with gas and set on fire on February 11.

"Me, and Consul General Raul Dado, went to the Forensics Department here to identify the remains. We saw her body. Her body is really burned beyond recognition," said Mar Hassan, head of the Assistance to Nationals Unit of the Philippine Embassy.

Estrella Gonzales' flat she shared with two other Pinays in Farwaniya, Kuwait

Suspects Agis Ohsitin, Mohammad Tufail, and Tigo Wasif were immediately arrested. Further investigation disclosed that the men owed Gonzalez KD1,200 or about P186,000.

"They conducted their investigations and they were able to get an admission from this Indian national that he killed the Filipina over the loan," Hassan said.

Gonzales had worked as a messenger for a hospital in Kuwait for two decades. She resigned about a year ago to go into money lending business.

Gonzales was able to go on a vacation to the Philippines last Christmas.

"Nagpapahiram siya. Ang pagkakaalam ko po ang indemnity niya sa ospital ang ginagamit niyang pinapahiram sa mga tao," said another housemate, Arnie Centeno.

Jacinto described Gonzales as a kind person.

"Ang pagkakakilala ko po sa kanya, mabait po siya, lahat po ng taong humiling po sa kanya, kung anong gusto, ibinibigay po. Wala po siyang kaaway na alam ko. Mabait po siyang tao," she said.

Her housemates are still thankful that the suspects were immediately apprehended.

"Pasalamat sa Diyos talaga kasi na nahuli na ang suspek na pumatay kay Auntie. Hindi ko sukat na akalain na ganun ang mangyayari sa amin buti na lang at hindi po ako nag day off nong time na yon po," Jacinto said.

Centeno meanwhile appealed for help in repatriating the remains of Gonzales back to her loved ones in the Philippines.

"Hindi nga ako maniwala sa nangyari po kay Ate. Humihingi po ako ng tulong na sana matulungan nyo kami na maiuwi na ang bangkay ni Ate," Centeno said.

The Philippine Embassy is monitoring her case.

"Para po sa pamilya, nakikiraramay po kami sa inyo. Huwag po kayong mag-alala, gagawin po ng embahada ang lahat para makamit ng biktima ang kanyang hustisya, ang hustisya sa nangyari sa kanya," Hassan said.