MANILA, Philippines - The overseas Filipino worker on death row in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia expressed his gratitude to all the people who helped extend the deadline to raise the needed blood money to spare him from execution.
“Gusto kong magpasalamat syempre sa itaas, yung mga tao sa embassy natin na tumutulong,” said Joselito Zapanta in a phone patch interview with ABS-CBN Middle East.
Zapanta was convicted for the murder of a Sudanese national and jailed in 2009. His death sentence was supposed to be carried out last November 14.
Fortunately, Zapanta got a 4-month reprieve after the victim’s family agreed to reduce the amount of the blood money and extend the deadline by four months.
The family of the victim initially asked for SR 5 million or P55 million in blood money. This was reduced by one million Saudi Riyals.
“Gusto kong ipakita na pinagsisihan ko na ang nangyari. Tanggap ko na mawawala ako. pero bago ako mawala, sana mapatawad pa rin ako ng pamilya,” he said.
Last week, Vice President Jejomar Binay said that the government and Zapanta’s family have so far raised SR 400,000 (P4.39 million).
Binay also credits the efforts of Sudanese embassy officials in Riyadh, as well as representatives of the Saudi king, for interceding on Zapanta’s behalf. He also likewise cited the efforts of the Philippine Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs. With reports from Zhariya Alamada, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau correspondent