Deadline extended for OFW on death row
MANILA, Philippines - An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) on death row in Saudi Arabia for killing his Sudanese landlord was given a four-month extension to come up with P44 million blood money and avoid execution, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Wednesday, November 14.
"He has been granted a deferment for four months" and the compensation has been reduced from P55-M to P44-M, which is "final and non-negotiable," Binay told reporters after attending the Asia-Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit in Makati.
The 32-year-old Joselito Zapanta from Mexico, Pampanga, was initially scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, November 14, but the date was first postponed until December 14 to give his family more time to produce the blood money.
The four-month extension and the lowering of the amount demanded by the family was later confirmed by DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez, who said that Zapanta's mother and sister have been allowed to visit him in jail.
They left Manila on Tuesday accompanied by DFA officials and will appeal the death sentence, Hernandez said.
Before the extension was granted, both Binay and President Benigno Aquino III had personally asked Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to defer the execution, arguing that Zapanta's family is very poor and needs more time to come up with the qisas or blood money.
However, the Saudi government initially only agreed to extend to one more month.
"As we always say, miracles can happen. Maybe we can do something so they can further lower [the amount]," Binay said.
So far the Philippine government has raised a little over P4-M, far from the new goal of P44-M.
Apprehended in 2009, Zapanta was convicted 3 years later by a Saudi court for killing his Sudanese landlord with a hammer during a dispute over rent. - Rappler.com