Binay still hopeful Zapanta will be spared from death penalty

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MANILA -- Amid reports that the execution order for Joselito Zapanta has already been signed, Vice President Jejomar Binay remains hopeful that the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) will be spared the death penalty.

"There's still a chance, [negotiations] are still open," said Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW concerns. "There are two more steps to be followed. The paperwork is moving. There’s still a process to be followed.

Zapanta was meted the death sentence in Saudi Arabia for killing Imam Ibrahim, a Sudanese national, over a rental dispute in 2009.

Binay said President Benigno Aquino III had already given a "substantial" amount to augment Zapanta's blood money, but still does not reach the P40 million being demanded by the victim's family.

Ibrahim's family demanded SAR 5 million for the execution of a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and prevent the imposition of the death penalty, but later reduced the amount to SAR 4 million.

Binay said the government is still negotiating with the family to further reduce the amount they were demanding.

The Vice President also said they are still looking for people to help in raising the amount being demanded by the victim's family.

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. (Jun M. Sarmiento/Sunnex)

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