• Binay fears OFW Zapanta may be executed in January

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    VICE President Jejomar Binay on Monday expressed fear that overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joselito Zapanta may be executed in January.

    This, according to Binay, if the blood money being demanded by the victim’s family is not raised immediately as the deadline has already lapsed.

    “We fear that the execution may happen on January if the blood money is not paid,” the Vice President said just before leaving for South Africa to attend the state funeral of President Nelson Mandela.

    Because of this, he appealed anew to Filipinos to help in raising the blood money to save from the death penalty.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our kababayans as the victim’s family is now becoming insistent,” he added.

    Zapanta is currently in death row in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for killing Imam Ibrahim, a Sudanese national.

    Ibrahim’s family originally demanded SAR 5 million for the execution of a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and prevent the imposition of the death penalty, but later reduced the amount to SAR 4 million.

    The original deadline for the payment of the blood money was set on November 12, 2012, but was extended to March 12, 2013. A second extension was granted, with the deadline moved to November 3.

    The Philippine government has so far raised around SAR 520,831 for Zapanta’s blood money.

    The Vice President believes that if Zapanta is able to present a higher amount than what has been currently raised, the victim’s family might reconsider and accept the offer.

    “We are appealing to everyone to help us in increasing the amount we have raised as the original amount was deemed too small by the victim’s family. They may agree to accept the blood money and pardon Mr. Zapanta if we increase the amount we are offering them,” Binay said.

    Donations may be made to the Riyadh Philippine Embassy’s sub-account for Zapanta in the Saudi Hollandi Bank: Account Number 037-040-790-022, International Bank Account Number (IBAN): SA 61-5000-0000-0370-4079-0022, Swift Code: AAALSARI.

    RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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