Filipino construction worker Joselito Zapanta executed in Saudi Arabia

MANILA, Philippines- A 35-year-old Filipino construction worker identified as Joselito Lidasan Zapanta was executed on Tuesday, December 29 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after being convicted of murder with robbery.

Joselito Zapanta was sentenced to death after being convicted of murder with robbery.
Joselito Zapanta was sentenced to death after being convicted of murder with robbery.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Zapanta was sentenced to death after the family of the Sudanese victim, Imam Ibrahim, refused to give an “Affidavit of Forgiveness or Tanazul in exchange of blood money”. It was reported that the crime committed in April 2010 originated from a rental dispute.

DFA spokesperson Charles Jose told Rappler in a text message: “The Philippine government has undertaken and exhausted all diplomatic and legal efforts, and extended consular and legal assistance to preserve the life of Mr Zapanta. The Philippine government provided the late Mr Zapanta all necessary assistance and ensured that his legal rights were observed throughout the whole judicial process.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday expressed his sympathies to the family and said the Office of the Vice President (OVP), which is in charge of OFW affairs, also exhausted all remedies to save Zapanta’s life including a personal written appeal to the King of Saudi Arabia.

From November 28 to December 2, in March 2013 and in November 2012, the government “arranged and funded the jail visits” of Zapanta’s mother and sister to the Malaz Central Prison.

Zapanta’s family including his father, mother, sister and two children will continue to receive assistance from the government.

Zapanta’s remains will not be repatriated

In an interview with radio dzBB, Jose revealed that Zapanta’s body was immediately buried following the execution as it is a common practice of the Saudi government. Zapanta had converted to Islam years ago and such practice is also in accordance with the Islam burial tradition.

Although the DFA informed Zapanta’s family that he could be executed anytime, the Philippine government was not informed about the exact date and time of the convicted Filipino’s execution.

A report by dzBB divulged that the government failed to raise the P48 million blood money demanded by the Riyadh court in order to save Zapanta’s life. Last December 16, Mona, Zapanta’s mother, made an appeal for help from the public as they have raised P23 million for the blood money. - Mini/TheSummitExpress

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