Create a gov’t unit for death penalty and blood money cases


THE Philippine government has a policy of helping the families of OFWs in the Middle East who commit the crime of killing an Arab and is sentenced to death for the crime but whose execution could be stopped if the dead person’s family agrees to be paid “blood money.”

Very often, the OFWs who find themselves in this horrible situation killed someone in self-defense, or in the case of women, in defense of their honor–they killed perpetrators attempting to rape them. But there have been instances when our compatriot found guilty of killing someone did so in anger and in felonious circumstances.

Some Filipinos don’t like to give help to Filipinos who face execution in the Middle East after committing felonies for which they would also be punished if they were back home.

The government policy is to help raise blood money from voluntary sources but not to allocate funds from the national treasury.

One problem is when the Arab family asks for a sum for which the Filipino’s family and the government cannot raise.

This was the case of the recent victim, Joselito Zapanta. The Philippine Embassy raised P23 million but the Saudi widow of the man Joselito had killed wanted more money. So Joselito was executed the other day.

We wholeheartedly endorse the advocacy of the Blas Ople Policy Center, spoken on Wednesday by OFW advocate Susan Ople, that part of the P23 million raised for Joselito and is now in a bank account for future blood-money use, be released to aid the late Joselito’s mother who is seriously ill and needs medical attention. Joselito’s death has devastated her and worsened her medical condition. He also left two little daughters.

Ms. Susan Ople urges the government to donate a certain percentage of the blood money raised to save Joselito Zapanta to his grieving family and the rest to help other OFWs on death row.

She made the appeal after Zapanta’s execution in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. She has been assisting the Zapanta family since 2013 through the non-government organization Blas F. Ople Policy Center which she heads.

“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,” she said.

The OFW advocate also called for a review of the government’s policy on blood money cases considering that there are 90 Filipinos on death row all over the world, with some of them also requiring blood money.

We zealously support Ms. Ople’s recommendation that a special government unit be formed to handle death penalty and blood money cases involving OFWs.

She said, “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.“


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  1. The Blas Ople Policy Center’s proposal to give part of the unused blood money collected to save the OFW from execution has some merits but it could set a precedent as well and raise the expectations of other OFWs in death row.

    We have to address the issue on a macro level. If we decide to help everyone in a similar boat, how much help should we give the families left behind? Who decides the amount to be given? How do we ensure it is fair and equitable?

    And when the unused blood money is exhausted, what do we do? Should we establish a fund and collect a mandatory fee for each OFW every month to ensure there are always funds available? Or, shall we fund it from the national budget? Where will the money come from?

  2. I think a committe composed of DFA,POEA -DOJ should study the merit of financial assistances to OFW who committed crimes in foreign countries on case by case basis,true, many cases involved self defense and protection of honor, in which our government and the whole Pilipino nation should joined hands to save our oversea compatriots, our new heroes, by all means. But there are also cases involved criminal felonies which even in our land, the aggressors will be meted punishments in our own courts and therefore, we have to respect the judicial systems of other countries even if the defendants is a Pilipino national.

  3. Why should we the taxpayers pay anything to help the family of a murderer just because he’s overseas? If anything, shouldn’t the criminals family pay some compensation to the murdered mans family? They too have lost they’re relative due to the criminal action of this Filipino. Would the taxpayers be expected to support this murderers family if he’d murdered his landlord here in the Philippines? No, I didn’t think so.

    • “The government policy is to help raise blood money from voluntary sources but not to allocate funds from the national treasury.

    • Yes but the article is asking for a government department to be set up to administer this issue. Civil servants = taxpayers money.

  4. In other countries, they ask for blood money. In Mindanao, they ask for ransom. Serving ‘mammon’?

  5. Claro Apolinar on

    Thank you, Manila Times, for continuing to care for us OFWs and former OFWs. And thanks also to Susan Ople.