Binay: Gov’t exhausted all means to save OFW Zapanta’s life
Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday expressed his sympathies to the family of Joselito Lidasan Zapanta, an overseas Filipino worker who has been executed in Saudi Arabia for killing his Sudanese landlord in 2009.
Binay said the Office of the Vice President (OVP), which is in charge of OFW affairs, exhausted all remedies to save Zapanta’s life.
“The Office of the Vice President worked closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and exhausted all diplomatic and legal efforts in order to save the life of Mr. Zapanta, including a personal written appeal to the King of Saudi Arabia,” Binay said in a statement, referring to the letter he wrote to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2012 to defer Zapanta’s sentence.
Zapanta, who has been in prison since April 13, 2010 following a heated altercation with his landlord over rent, was executed after the victim’s family refused to execute on Affidavit of Forgiveness in exchange for blood money.
The family previously demanded P48 million, but only P23 million was raised for Zapanta.
Binay said the OVP and the DFA provided the Filipino with necessary assistance to ensure that his legal rights were observed, adding that the Philippine government was in constant communication with the Sudanese’s family to secure extensions for the blood money.
“We likewise issued appeals for help in raising the blood money demanded by the family of his victim, in keeping with Saudi laws. Despite our best efforts- and the kindness and generosity of private individuals, the local government of Pampanga and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)- we were unable to raise the SAR 4 million demanded by the family,” Binay said.
“We shall also work for greater government protection and effective assistance for our fellow Filipinos abroad,” he added.
Zapanta was survived by his father, mother, sister, and two children.
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