‘Black holiday’ | Migrant group mourns execution of OFW in Saudi

 FILE PHOTO. (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)
(Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)

Joselito Zapanta, 35, is the eighth Filipino to be executed abroad under President Aquino, the highest under one administration.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A migrant rights group mourned the execution of overseas Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta in Saudi Arabia yesterday, Dec. 29.

“We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family, especially his children. We are in collective grief,” Migrante International said in a statement.

His remains were buried in Saudi Arabia. He was only 35.

Zapanta left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia back in 2008 to work as a tile setter. A year later, in 2009, his Sudanese landlord went to his worksite to ask for his rent even when it was not yet due. Their conversation turned into a fight and he ended up accidentally killing his landlord, who was about to hit him with a hammer.

The family of the Sudanese landlord asked for blood money amounting to $1.1 million. But Zapanta’s family here in the Philippines was only able to raise $490,361, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Zapanta is the eight Filipino to be executed abroad under President Aquino, the highest under one administration. Migrante International blamed it on the lack of legal assistance for OFWs in distress.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) claimed it has exhausted all diplomatic and legal efforts to save Zapanta from the gallows. It also said it provided necessary assistance and ensured that his rights were observed throughout the whole judicial process.

In a separate statement, John Monterona, coordinator of Migrante Middle East, dubbed President Aquino as “OFW Bitay King�� and “OFW Executioner.”

He also assailed the Aquino government for failing to intervene in a timely manner by asking the Saudi Arabian King to grant pardon to Joselito or halt the execution, or even show its sincerity and determination to raise the much-needed blood money.

Migrante International called on the public to join them for a Global Day of Mourning and Prayer for Zapanta’s eternal repose. ()

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