MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday expressed concern about reports that the execution order for overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joselito Zapanta has been signed.
Binay, however, said a process will still be followed by Saudi authorities.
"There's still a chance, [negotiations] are still open. There are two more steps to be followed," he said in a press statement.
Binay, presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said there is no need to alarm the public, even as he remains hopeful that Zapanta will be spared the death penalty.
Zapanta, in 2009, was meted the death sentence in Saudi Arabia for killing Imam Ibrahim, a Sudanese, over a rental dispute.
Binay said President Benigno Aquino has already given a "substantial" amount to augment Zapanta's blood money. However, the amount is still short of reaching the P40 million being demanded by the victim's family.
Ibrahim's family 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.
Binay said the government is still negotiating with the family to further reduce the amount.
He said they are still looking for people to help in raising money.
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.
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