MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay wrote a personal letter to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud requesting to defer the implementation of the death sentence of a Filipino worker.
"I join our President, Benigno Aquino III, in seeking your intercession in the deferment of the qisas sentence imposed on a Filipino national, Joselito Lidasan Zapanta," Binay said in a press statement.
President Aquino sent an earlier appeal to King Abdullah in October.
The OFW, Joselito Zapanta, from Mexico, Pampanga, was sentenced to death by the Saudi Court of First Instance on April 13, 2009. He allegedly killed his Sudanese landlord. He was also accused of theft.
"Ang buod po nito ay bigyan ng kaunting panahon na makapag-raise ng pera. Tingnan natin kung makakahabol pa. Ang habol po natin ay huwag maipagpatuloy ang execution ng sa ganoon ay makapag-raise ng pera," said Binay.
An official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will hand-carry the letter to the King.
Binay said the victim's family is asking for SR 5 million in blood money or around P55 million to be given by November 14. The family also insisted that the sentence be carried out should Zapanta's family fail to meet the deadline.
The Vice President said that Zapanta’s family and the Philippine government have raised SR 400,000.
"Baka naman sa halagang ito ay mabigyan tayo ng pagkakataon na mabigyan ng panahon at tingnan natin kung ano pa ang magagawa natin," he said.
He also revealed that Zapanta's family will leave for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
"Ang pamilya po ay aalis bukas at ginagawan po natin ng paraan para makapag-apila sa pamilya," he added.
On Monday, Binay, along with Undersecretary Jesus Yabes, head of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, DFA officials and Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Policy Center, met with Zapanta's family.
Binay assured the family that government will exert all efforts to help them.
"Sana po ay samahan ninyo kami ni Pangulong Aquino sa pagdarasal para sa ating kababayan. At muli po, ang aming paalala sa ating mga kababayan na igalang at sumunod sa mga batas ng bansang pinagtatrabahuhan nila," Binay said.