Miracle for Zapanta-A A +A
Monday, November 4, 2013
BACOLOR -- Family, relatives, neighbors and friends of Kapampangan Overseas Filipino Worker Joselito Zapanta -- who is in death row -- are praying relentlessly for a miracle to keep his fate off the hanging balance -- at least for one more time.
"We are hoping the deadline for Joselito will be extended again" -- thus is the optimism that pervades in the quiet little town of Cabetican in this town for Zapanta.
Jesus, Joselito's father, on Sunday led his mother and met government officials in Manila on the possibility of extending the deadline for the blood money, which expired last November 3.
So far, the Zapanta family, with the help of kind-hearted donors and local officials, has raised only P5.6 million of the P45 million blood money demanded by relatives of Joselito's Sudanese landlord, whom he killed in a rental dispute in 2009.
Zapanta was supposed to be executed last March 12, but it was extended to June 8, 2013 after King Abdullah ordered a deferment of the execution of all qias or death penalty cases in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government has already extended the deadline for raising blood money for Zapanta’s case twice.
“We continue to hope and pray that we be given more time. We know that the government is also doing its part to save Joselito or at least prolong the time. We are praying for a miracle as his life hangs in the balance,” the Zapanta family said.
Expressing high hopes that a Zapanta would be given another extension in paying his blood money, Vice President Jejomar asked the public to pray harder for the Saudi government to consider another possible extension.
"It's already November and we still have to raise a big amount. We need to double our prayers for Joselito and his family," said Binay, who is also Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers' (OFW) Concerns.
Binay noted that unlike Rodelio "Dondon" Lanuza, an OFW who was recently freed from the death row, Zapanta is in a more difficult situation as the Saudi king has not shouldered the balance of the blood money.
Out of his SAR 4 million or about P45 million blood money, his family and the Philippine government were able to raise only SAR 520,831.
Meanwhile, Lanuza's blood money was SAR 3 million. The Philippine government and supporters of Lanuza paid SAR 700,000, while Saudi King Abdullah shouldered the remaining SAR 2.3 million.
"Our staff at the Philippine embassy in Saudi, together with the Sudanese embassy, are doing their best to save Joselito," Binay said.
"Let's hope he will be given an extension or his blood money will be lessened," he added. (Jun Sarmiento/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 05, 2013.