Momentarily, a Filipino in Saudi death row gets reprive to raise money to save his life.
From Bacolor, Pampanga, laborer Joselito Zapanta’s head was supposed to be cut off on Tuesday evening for failure to complete the blood money in the amount of P44 million pesos demanded by the wife of the Sudanese landlord Saleh Imam Ibrahim whom Zapanta allegedly killed with a hammer during a dispute over his rent in 2009.
Zapanta following the appeal of no less Pres, Benigno Aquino III, Vice-Pres.Jejomar Binay and the benevolent gesture of King Abdullah of Saudi, was given an additional extension of 3 months to raise and complete the blood money in exchange for the life of his Sudanese victim.
The victim’s wife in this case is demanding the equivalent of 44 million Philippine pesos, but Zapanta’s family had only raised about 10 million pesos, Binay’s office said.
So luck was with Zapanta to be afforded another 3-month time to produce his shortage of P34 million pesos. Will he be able to raise the money? Will another extension of time be given him to complete the amount?
Governor Lilia Pineda is leaving no stone unturned to save Zapanta’s head. She has instructed officials in Pampanga last Monday to wire some P1.5 million in donations from mayors and the private sector to Zapanta’s mom Mona and sister Rose who are in Saudi Arabia.
Binay said Pres. Aquino and Zapanta’s mother, Maymona, both wrote King Abdullah last Saturday to ask for his help. On Sunday Zapanta and his mother were able to talk in jail.
Lanuza walks free
A month ago Manila-born Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, 39, who works since 1995 in Saudi as draftsman who finished an architecture degree from MLQ in Manila, and likewise sentenced to death, walked free after more than 12 years in prison following Saudi King Abdullah’s decision to shoulder the balance of P24.9 million pesos in indemnity to the victim’s kin, Binay said.
Lanuza’s family raised P7.5 million pesos with the help of donors, mainly from New York-based philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis.
The family of the slain Saudi national agreed to settle the dispute through blood money amounting to P32.4 million in exchange for Lanuza’s freedom.
Lanuza at about 8:30 p.m. on August 10, 2000 while trying to protect himself from the advances of a Saudi national who tried to sexually abuse him, knifed him to death, he said.
Arab News said Lanuza’s parents Eduardo and Letty, who are based in the United States, pleaded for help to both President Aquino and Saudi King Abdullah through letters.
Binay lobbied for Lanuza’s freedom thus saved his head after paying the blood money.
Read the poignant story of the release of Dondon Lanuza here.
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