RIYADH: A Filipino worker who was found guilty of murdering a Sudanese man six years ago was executed on Tuesday in the national capital, the Ministry of Interior said.
Joselito Lidasan Zapanta's execution was carried out after efforts led by the Philippine government to raise the $1 million "blood money" demanded by his victim's family fell short.
Zapanta, a 35-year-old tile-setter, was convicted of murder and robbery by a Riyadh court in 2010 for killing Sudanese national Saleh Imam Ibrahim with a hammer following a dispute in 2009, the Interior Ministry said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In Manila, Charles Jose, spokesman of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said Ibrahim’s family refused to sign an affidavit of forgiveness that would have spared Zapanta the death penalty unless it was paid 48 million pesos ($1 million), setting a two-week deadline earlier this month for payment.
The family of Zapanta and the Philippine government managed to raise only 23 million pesos ($488,000)..
Jose said in a statement that the government “has undertaken and exhausted all diplomatic and legal efforts, and extended consular and legal assistance to preserve the life of Mr. Zapanta.”
He said the government has arranged and funded the jail visits of Zapanta’s relatives at the Malaz Central Prison and that the the DFA shall continue to extend assistance to Zapanta’s family.
Jose took the occasion to appeal to all Filipinos working overseas "to follow the local laws of their host countries at all times and to avoid involvement in criminal activities.”
The plight of Filipino workers overseas is a sensitive issue in the Philippines. About a tenth of the country’s 100 million people work abroad, including around 2.2 million in Saudi Arabia.
Jose said that 79 Filipinos are on death row in various countries, including 41 in Malaysia and 27 in Saudi Arabia. (Additional input from Agencies)