Filipino on Saudi death row gets another reprieve-A A +A
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO (Updated) -- Kapampangan overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joselito Zapanta could at least breathe for another three months following the Saudi Arabian King’s order to defer the execution of all qizas or death penalty in the Arab country.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also the presidential adviser on Filipino workers overseas, said Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered to defer the execution of death penalty, including that of Zapanta’s.
“Dahil sa kautusan ng Hari ng Saudi Arabia na ipagpaliban ang lahat ng kaso na ang hatol ay pagpugot ng ulo, nabigyan ng tatlong buwan an palugit o extension ang ating kababayan na si Joselito Zapanta,” Binay said in a statement.
Binay said the news was confirmed by Adbulaziz Abdulrahman Al Gaeit, the assistant of the Undersecretary for Public Rights of the Emir’s Office, who met with the Philippine embassy officials in Riyadh.
Zapanta, a native of Bacolor, Pampanga, was meted the death penalty that was supposed to be carried out Tuesday evening for allegedly killing his Sudanese landlord Saleh Imam Ibrahim with a hammer during a dispute over his rent in 2009.
He was given prior extension of four months in November 2012 to raise the blood money amounting to P44 million.
Governor Lilia Pineda has instructed officials in Pampanga last Monday to wire some P1.5 million in donations from mayors and the private sector to Zapanta’s mom Mona and sister Rose who are in Saudi Arabia.
Pineda also asked kabalens to hope and pray hard for a miracle that will save the Kapampangan OFW, as Philippine authorities scrambled to save him from death row.
The governor reportedly talked to Zapanta’s mom on the extension and the good news that came with it. Based on accounts, the Philippine Government has raised an estimated P10 million for the OFW’s life.
Binay said the reprieve is good until June 8 but this did not mean that the deadline set for Zapanta's family to pay the blood money has also been extended.
"The relatives of victims have not yet decided regarding the deadline extension. That is already being looked into by our embassy in Riyadh," he said.
The Vice President said President Benigno Aquino III and Zapanta's mother, Maymona, both wrote King Abdullah last Saturday to ask for his help.
The following day, Binay said Zapanta and his mother were able to talk in jail.
The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported on Sunday that a ministerial committee was looking into formally dropping public beheadings as a method of execution in the oil-rich kingdom and considering fatal shootings as an alternative.
The kingdom executes anyone convicted of murder, armed robbery, rape and trafficking in drugs.
The government estimates there are more than one million Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, part of about 10 million overseas workers who send home billions of dollars that help shore up the Philippine economy. (Sun.Star Pampanga/Virgil Lopez/AP/Sunnex)