CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Gov. Lilia Pineda has appealed to her “cabalens” in the country and abroad to help raise funds for Kapampangan Joselito Zapanta, 33, who has about only three months to raise P44 million “blood money” to spare him from beheading in SaudiArabia.
She said donations have started to pour in but much more is needed to raise the needed amount.
Earlier, Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay, who also appealed for donations, reported that someone whose identity he did not reveal had already donated P1 million for Zapanta, native of Bacolor , Pampanga.
Pineda said Zapanta belongs to a poor family. His father is a carpenter while his mother is a plain housewife who is also ill.
“We need all the help we can get as soon as possible because the deadline is March next year. I ask all our cabalens not only in the Philippines but also abroad to sacrifice and instead donate some of their unnecessary expenses for the holidays to save the life of Joselito,” she said.
Binay said that apart from the donor of P1 million, some 400 families of overseas contract workers, during a Christmas party organized by Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Center also donated P7,900 to the blood money fund.
In 2007, Zapanta was employed as a tile setter in Saudi Arabia. Two years later, he was involved in the killing of a Sudanese landlord after an argument. A Saudi court later meted to him the death penalty via beheading.
The victim’s family later sought compensation of about P50 million as blood money, in exchange for Zapanta’s being spared from the death penalty and pardoned.
Binay quoted the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia as saying that Zapanta “is a changed man who has repeatedly sought the forgiveness of the aggrieved family and that of his own.”
He noted that Zapanta was supposed to have been executed last November but the Philippine government succeeded not only in lowering the amount of blood money to P44 million, but also in granting a four-month stay of the execution deadline which would be in March next year.