ANGELES CITY -- Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) advocate Susan Ople has urged the Filipino people to pray for Maryjane Veloso, Kapampangan Joselito Zapanta and other Filipino workers who are on death row in other countries.
Ople aired her concern about the OFWs on death row during a press conference with the team of presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe at the Fortune Restaurant at the New Street here on Thursday.
"We would like to appeal for prayers, both for Maryjane Veloso and Joselito Zapanta that they may soon be with us and their families and at the very least, be safe from execution," Ople said.
Zapanta is a construction worker in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to death after killing his Sudanese landlord, Salah Ibrahim in 2009. The victim’s relatives however agreed to waive the sentence in return for blood money amounting to US$ 1 million.
“We are continuing to monitor that case at alam po natin ay there has been an extension and talks are ongoing between the aggrieved Sudanese family and yung ating kababayang Kapampangan na si Joselito Zapanta,” Ople said.
She also announced that Veloso’s reprieve from execution has been extended.
“Legal and Security Affairs has announced that as of today, without any deadline set that executions in Indonesia will now be given low priority.”
The Indonesian government wants to focus now on their own economy, according to Ople.
She stressed the need for the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to continue coordinating with the Indonesian government.
“I would like to appeal now to our government, especially the DFA to hold bilateral talks with their Indonesian counterpart in the margins of APEC so that we can express officially our support and encouragement for this policy of the Indonesian government,” Ople said.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) previously testified that Veloso is not a drug trafficker but a victim of narcotic-trafficking, according to her. “Our appeal to the Indonesian government is to remove Veloso from the death because she is not a drug trafficker.”
Vowing for assistance, Ople at the same time appealed to members of the Kapampangan media to coordinate cases of OFWs with the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.
She said that her office has already helped at least four Kapampangans who are victims of prostitution, human trafficking and illegal recruitment.