OFW advocate to gov’t: Donate some amount from blood money to Zapanta kin
Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) advocate Susan Ople urged the government to donate a percentage of the blood money, raised in order to aid Joselito Zapanta, to go towards his family and other OFWs on death row.
Zapanta, 35, was executed on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia for murdering a Sudanes man six years ago. The Philippine government’s efforts to raise the blood money of $1 million fell short.
“Joselito left behind two children, who are only 13 and 11 years of age. His mother, Ramona, is also in need of medical attention. I appeal to our government to provide much needed assistance to the family especially now that Joselito is gone,” Ople said.
The OFW advocate has been assisting the Zapanta family since 2013 through the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization.
“In Joselito’s case, the government was able to raise P23 million which is now in a bank account opened by the Philippine Embassy for the aggrieved Sudanese family. Since that amount had been rejected by the Sudanese widow thus leading to Joselito’s execution, would the government be amenable to donating some amount to the grieving Filipino family? That is a policy decision that needs to be clarified,” Ople said.
The family of Sudanese national Saleh Imam Ibrahim had been asking for P48 million or $1 million.
Ople called for a review of the government’s policy on blood money as there are 90 Filipinos on the death row in parts of the world, some of which also required blood money.
She recommended the formation of a special unit to tackle death penalty and blood money cases for overseas workers.
“The DFA should not be alone in this task because their role is limited to diplomatic functions and assistance to nationals through talks with their counterparts. A more cohesive and transparent mechanism and policy are needed because there are still several pending and urgent blood money cases involving OFWs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” she said.