By ROY MABASA
Manila, Philippines – Fearing the execution of Joselito Zapanta may happen this month if the blood money is not paid, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay once again called upon Filipinos to help raise funds for the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) on Death Row in Saudi Arabia.
“Once again, I ask everyone to help raise funds for Joselito,” Binay said. “Let us start this year by helping save the life of a fellow Filipino and bringing joy to his family.”
Binay said he was informed by Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Ezzedin Tago that Zapanta’s family needs to raise at least 1.48 million Saudi rials (R17.5 million) to complete the two million Saudi rials being renegotiated with the victim’s family.
Zapanta was sentenced to death in 2009 for killing his Sudanese landlord Imam Ibrahim allegedly out of self-defense.
He was given reprieve several times in the past, once in November 2013 and another in March 2013.
The family of the victim demanded five million Saudi rials for the execution of a “tanazul” or affidavit of forgiveness and prevent the imposition of the death penalty but later reduced the amount to four million Saudi rials.
The payment of the blood money was originally due on November 12, 2012 but was extended to March 12, 2013. A second extension was granted, with the deadline moved to November 3, 2013.
The Philippine government has so far raised around 520,831 Saudi rials.
Binay believes that if Zapanta can present a higher amount than what has been currently raised, Ibrahim’s family might reconsider and accept the offer.