MANILA – Filipinos have stepped up the drive to save their compatriot from death row while the government sought an extension as the November 3 deadline to save his life passed.
Joselito Zapanta, an OFW who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, needs to raise by today SAR4 million in blood money to the family of his Sudanese landlord, who he killed in a rental dispute in 2009.
Foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said on ABS-CBN television: “We are continuing our representations with the Saudi government to help us in extending the deadline for the payment of blood money to the family of the victim of Mr Zapanta.”
Filipino migrant rights leader John Leonard Monterona has said that his group Migrante has sent an appeal to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to intervene on behalf of Zapanta. The king in the past had intervened to save Filipino worker Rogelio Dondon Lanuza from death row due to humanitarian reasons.
Although the amount raised by Zapanta’s family still wasn’t enough, Philippine officials and other Filipinos haven’t given up yet, and are still hoping for a miracle.
Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay, Philippine Vice-President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), earlier said: “Umasa pa rin tayo sa himala. Baka mabigyan pa tayo ng extension at baka ibaba pa ang halaga”.
Binay said that he is hopeful that the amount would be reduced, or an extension will be given from November 3 deadline to settle the blood money. Saudi government has extended the deadline twice.