Gov’t racing to save OFW in Saudi jailBy Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government is working overtime to raise P55 million in blood money in order to save the life of a Filipino overseas worker convicted for the murder with robbery of a Sudanese national in Saudi Arabia.
A document obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed that Joselito Zapanta has only until Nov. 14 to pay the blood money to the family of Saleh Imam Ibrahim, an accountant of his landlord, or face the death penalty handed down by a Saudi court in 2010.
Zapanta’s case is pending for review before the Supreme Judicial Council or Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court and is also with the Riyadh Governor’s Office for mediation.
According to the document, President Aquino has appealed for the life of Zapanta in a letter to His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Mr. Aquino’s letter to the Saudi King requesting for the postponement of the “qisas” sentence or death penalty imposed on Zapanta, was transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs last month from the Office of the President, the Inquirer learned.
On May 26, 2009, Zapanta killed Ibrahim with a hammer over a dispute about the OFW’s rent payment.
Zapanta also took the victim’s mobile phone and money worth SAR3,000 or approximately P32,000. Zapanta gave the phone to fellow overseas Filipino worker Karen Manalo, who had already served out her sentence for her participation in the crime.
Zapanta admitted to the crime but said he killed Ibrahim accidentally after he was beaten up for failing to pay his rent.