Palace twits Binay: Don’t politicize OFW Zapanta’s ‘tragedy’
Malacañang on Wednesday took a swipe at Vice President Jejomar Binay for politicizing the death of overseas Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta, who was executed for murder in Saudi Arabia.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reacted to Binay’s statement blaming President Benigno Aquino III for allegedly failing to act on his proposal to raise blood money that could have saved Zapanta’s life.
“How many instances have we put up the blood money? I mean, is his memory too short that in every instance where we are able to obtain, to save the life of a Filipino… was blood money not used? This is a tragedy. Siguro huwag na lang natin i-politicize (Let us not politicize),” Lacierda told reporters in a press briefing.
“It’s in bad taste to politicize a tragedy whereas kung dapat we should all rally behind and really… We have always stated that this is a team effort and they are now trying to politicize the whole situation. Huwag sana,” he said.
Binay previously said he was tasked in 2014 to head an inter-agency committee to draft guidelines for a policy on the payment of blood money. But as early as 2012, the opposition leader said he has submitted the guidelines to Aquino, who has yet to act upon it.
Zapanta’s family managed to raise only P23 million of the P47.9-million blood money demanded by the family of his Sudanese landlord he killed in 2009.
Using Binay’s words, Lacierda said the Philippine government exhausted all means, with the President “going out of his way,” to save Zapanta’s life.
“The President’s policy is: this is a team effort. I don’t know what the Vice President is doing. He’s blaming us. But as early as December 29 he said the government—and when we speak of the government I’d like to believe that the Philippine government—has exhausted all efforts to try to save Mr. Zapanta. And that has been a consistent policy of this government, that whenever the life of a Filipino abroad is in danger, it is our responsibility to try and save that Filipino,” Lacierda said, criticizing Binay for taking credit in the government’s accomplishments.
“The President’s policy here is we work as a team. Are we a team when we are able to successfully save the life of a Filipino? And then laglagan na when hindi natin nailigtas ‘yung isang Filipino? Hindi kami nanlalaglag ng tao… The President has written several letters also to the people who are in a way responsible for the life of the Filipino,” he added.
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. TVJ
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