• Donate ‘blood money’ to OFW’s kin, govt urged

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    The family and friends of Joselito Zapanta, the Filipino migrant worker who was executed in Saudi Arabia for the murder of his Sudanese landlord, along with other overseas-worker advocates, on Wednesday held a prayer vigil in Barangay San Vicente, Bacolor, Pampanga.

    This was announced by Susan Ople, head of the non-government organization Blas F. Ople Policy Center, on Twitter a day after Zapanta’s execution in a public plaza in Riyadh.

    His remains were immediately buried in accordance with Islamic tradition.

    Zapanta was reportedly a convert to Islam.

    Ople said Zapanta’s horrific death was painful.

    “Matagal na akong OFW advocate, personal na humahawak ng iba’t ibang mga kaso. Isa sa pinakamabigat sa puso itong kay Joselito Zapanta. RIP [I’ve been an OFW advocate for a long time and I held several cases. This case of Joselito Zapanta is one of the most heartbreaking. RIP],” she tweeted.

    In a separate statement, Ople urged the government to donate a percentage of the blood money raised to save Zapanta from execution to his family and other distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row.

    The government’s effort to raise the P48-million blood money, demanded by the family of the Sudanese victim, fell short.

    Fund-raising efforts only managed to collect P23 million.

    Ople pointed out that Zapanta left two young children, aged 13 and 11. His mother, Ramona, is also in need of medical attention.

    She was rushed to a hospital because of hypertension on Tuesday after learning that her son was already executed.

    “I appeal to our government to provide much needed assistance to the family especially now that Joselito is gone,” Ople said.

    She added, “… 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.”

    Meanwhile, Ople called for a review of the government’s policy on blood money cases, considering there are other 90 Filipinos on death row abroad, some of them requiring blood money.

    She recommended the formation of a special unit to tackle death penalty and blood money cases involving distressed migrant workers.

    “The DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] should not be alone in this task because [its]role is limited to diplomatic functions and assistance to nationals through talks with [its]counterparts. A more cohesive and transparent mechanis m and policy are needed because there are still several pending and urgent blood money cases involving OFWs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” Ople said.

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    7 Comments

    1. All donated funds should be returned back to those who made the donations to get joselito out if jail.

    2. No, no and no! He murdered an innocent man who likewise was an overseas worker in Saudi, what of his bereaved family and dependants? What sentence would this criminal expect to receive in the Philippines if he’d murdered his landlord here?

    3. For those people saying that convicted murderer should not expect the government to help them, DO NOT really know what they are talking about and have a very little knowledge about other countries, specifically, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

      Filipinos in Saudi Arabia are considered as a TCN, which means Third Country National. It is also imbedded in their Labor Law how much money they are going to pay their workers. An example: A Filipino Engineer doing the same job as his American counterpart do not receive the same amount of salary as his counterpart does. So what happens when third country nationals violated their laws or committed a crime? They will be punished severely, and an eye for an eye concept is applied even killing was done as a self defense.

      What happens when other countries such as U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia citizens committed the same crime as what the Filipino did? Their embassies, consulates work harder for their citizens and represent them well in courts. After all, these embassies are well funded, and are mandated to protect their citizens working or living abroad. And where this mandate coming from? It is a law created by their legislators.

    4. Ms. Ople, push a little bit harder to the congress the issues of OFW, to create a legislation to help / protect our OFW. You are in a position to raise HELL with these politicians. Billions of Pesos ang mga ninanakaw ang mga lawmakers at walang maibigay na 48 million pesos blood money for our OFW? The OFW remittances exceeded 20% of the National Budget and cannot come up with the blood money, just to save a life of our OFW. Bulok ang gobyerno natin at lalo na sa mga taong nagpapatakbo ng bayan.

      • And what does Susan Ople want, a tax so that gobyerno-Pilipinas has blood money always available? Tax on what, on gasoline and diesel fuel? Or should it be additional P20-a-year OFW tax? What tax is Susan Ople asking for?