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Malacanang Seeks Help for OFW in Saudi Arabia’s Death Row

Malacanang seeks the help of the public to raise funds for the blood money needed to save the life of Joselito Zapanta, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.


Zapanta was sentenced to death for allegedly killing and stealing from his Sudanese landlord in June 2009 after a heated argument on rental dues.


P44 million or four million Saudi riyals (SAR) is the amount demanded by the victim’s heirs, in which P5.6 million or 512,066.35 have already been raised by Zapanta’s family and the Philippine government.


The deadline for the payment of blood money was originally scheduled on March 12, 2013, but recently been extended for the second time by the Saudi government to November 3, 2013.


Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah and the Saudi Government for responding to the requests made by President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay in behalf of Zapanta and his family.


Lacierda added that the extension given allows the Zapanta family more time to raise funds required by the victim’s heirs.


He also assured that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will continue to give appropriate assistance to Zapanta and his family.


In February, OFW Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza was spared from death after the Saudi government shouldered the remaining 2.3 million SAR or P24.9 million in blood money.


Lanuza had been on death row in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for more than a decade. He was convicted for killing a Saudi national in 2000, which he claimed was an act of self-defense.


2011 when the family of his victim had forgiven him but required P35 million or three million SAR for blood money.


Earlier, his family managed to raise the other P7.5 million (700,000 SAR) with the help of online pleas by his family and friends and the Philippine government.

Corabelle is the Bayanihan's Phillippine News Correspondent.