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Last minute appeal over Filipino death sentence

Migrant worker faces execution in Saudi Arabia

Members of Migrante march to appeal against the death sentence of Joselito Zapanta (photo by Rene Sandajan) Members of Migrante march to appeal against the death sentence of Joselito Zapanta (photo by Rene Sandajan)
  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • November 13, 2012
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A migrant organization led a march in Manila today to appeal against a death sentence imposed on a Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia.

The group Migrante said the government’s last-ditch effort to save the life of migrant worker Joselito Zapanta is "happening late in the game."

Zapanta was found guilty of the murder of a Sudanese national in 2010 in Saudi Arabia and has until tomorrow to pay the necessary compensation to the victim’s family – $1.3 million – or face likely execution.
Zapanta’s family has only been able to raise $121,000 so far to save him.

His mother and sister are traveling to Saudi Arabia with a formal letter for the victim’s family requesting an extension, said Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez.

Vice President Jejomar Binay recently also appealed for Zapanta's life as he announced the execution has already been scheduled, despite an appeal by President Benigno Aquino.

Binay said Aquino wrote an appeal to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia last month but the fate of the offender rests on the decision of the victim's family.

Connie Bragas-Regalado, chairperson of Migrante, said the lack of government assistance for migrant workers like Zapanta has turned into a trend in the Philippines.

"We are now seeing a pattern of negligence and last-minute actions. Heads must roll, and it should not be those of our overseas workers," she said.

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