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VP Binay seeks double prayers for OFW in Saudi Arabia death row

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday asked Filipinos to double their prayers for overseas Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta, on the eve of the Nov. 3 deadline for him to pay blood money so he can escape the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said the staff members of the Philippine and Sudanese embassies are already working to save Zapanta.

“It's already November and we still have to raise a big amount. We need to double our prayers for Joselito and his family,” he said in a post on his Facebook page.

"Let's hope he will be given an extension or his blood money will be lessened," he added.

Zapanta was sentenced to death for killing a Sudanese national in 2009.

In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Saturday said Binay had been the “biggest advocate” of efforts to save Zapanta.

“Patuloy ang kanyang pagapela sa pagbigay ng donation para ma-raise ang blood money (Binay has been appealing for donations to raise the blood money),” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

SR4M blood money

Binay noted Zapanta needs to raise SR4 million (P45 million) in blood money, but his family and the Philippine government managed to raise only SR520,831.

He added the Saudi government had already extended the period of collecting Zapanta’s blood money twice.

But he said Zapanta is in a more difficult situation compared to Rodelio "Dondon" Lanuza, an OFW who managed to escape Death Row after the needed blood money was raised for his case.

He noted Lanuza had to pay SR3 million blood money, with the Philippine government and Lanuza's supporters raising SR700,000, and Saudi King Abdullah shouldering the remaining SR2.3 million.

"I ask all Filipinos to pray harder so Joselito Zapanta can be given an extension in paying the blood money required by his victim's family," Binay said in a separate post on his Twitter account. — LBG, GMA News