PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has pledged a substantial amount to augment the blood money raised by the Philippine government to save Overseas Filipino Worker Joselito Zapanta from execution in Saudi Arabia.
This was reported on Tuesday by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns.
However, Binay declined to reveal how much the President has pledged or how much the government has raised so far so as not to jeopardize negotiations with the victim’s family.
“On our part, si Pangulo mismo, pumayag na magbigay nang medyo kalakihang halaga. Sa aming palagay, sobra na talaga ang laki [the president himself has given a huge amount for the blood money],” said Binay.
The vice president remains optimistic that there will be a fruitful negotiations despite the reported insistence of the victim’s family that they be paid SAR 4 million (P48 million).
“Magpu-pursige pa rin tayo na magkaroon nang [We will still try to pursue a] compromise,” he added.
Zapanta is currently in death row in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for killing Imam Ibrahim, a Sudanese national.
Ibrahim’s family initially demanded SAR 5 million in exchange for a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and prevent the imposition of the death penalty, but later agreed to reduce the amount to SAR 4 million.
The payment of the blood money was originally due on November 12, 2012, but was extended to March 12, 2013. A second extension was granted, with the deadline moved to November 3, 2013.
Binay earlier expressed fear Zapanta may be executed this month if the blood money being demanded by the victim’s family is not raised immediately.
Because of this, Binay reiterated his appeal to the public to help raise the blood money for Zapanta.
Donations for Zapanta may be made to the Riyadh Philippine Embassy’s sub-account 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