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Friday, March 15, 2013

OFW Zapanta given 3-month reprieve — VP Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday  announced that Joselito Zapanta, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) scheduled for execution in Saudi Arabia, has been given a three-month reprieve by the Saudi government.

At a press conference at the Coconut Palace, Binay, the presidential adviser for OFW Concerns, said Saudi King Abdullah has given an order to defer the execution of all qizas or death penalty cases in the Arab country, including that of Zapanta.

He said this was confirmed by Adbulaziz Abdulrahman Al Gaeit, the Assistant of the Undersecretary for Public Rights of the Emir’s Office, who met with the Philippine Embassy officials in Riyadh.
Binay said Zapanta’s reprieve begins the day after the deadline set by the victim’s relatives for the payment of the blood money.

However, the Vice President clarified that the reprieve did not mean that the deadline set for Zapanta’s family to pay the blood money has also been extended.  “There is still no decision from the victim’s family on this matter. But this is to be given attention by our embassy in Riyadh,” he said.  Binay again thanked King Abdullah “for yet another humanitarian gesture.”

“His benevolence has given our kababayan a three month lease on life, and his family additional time to raise the blood money,” he said.  “We also wish to thank the Emir’s Office for their efforts in facilitating the amicable settlement and forgiveness, as well as the extension of the deadlines, allowing the maximum period for the settlement of the amount,” Binay added.

He also pointed to the work being done by the Philppine Ambassador to Saudi, Ambassador Tago and the entire officials and officers of in our Embassy, and the DFA headed by Secretary Albert del Rosario, in their efforts to help our countrymen abroad.”” he further said.

The Vice President also revealed that President  Aquino and Zapanta’s mother, Maymona, both wrote King Abdullan on March 9 to ask for his help.

Binay said Zapanta and his mother were able to talk on March 10, when the latter, accompanied by Philippine Embassy officials, visited her son in jail.

The Vice President reiterated his appeal for help to come up with the full amount needed to secure Zapanta’s freedom.

source: Tribune

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