OPLE CENTER CALLS ON FILIPINOS TO PRAY FOR JOSELITO ZAPANTA

MANILA — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) advocate Susan Ople called on all Filipinos, particularly millions of Filipino workers abroad, to offer prayers for 35-year-old Joselito Zapanta who was executed early Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.

With this, the head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center reported that the mother of the OFW, Ramona Zapanta, is being treated in a hospital due to hypertension after learning about the fate of her son.

“Nanay Mona was still hopeful that Joselito would come home. When I told her that her son is gone, she cried and wailed and suddenly lost consciousness,” she said in a statement.

Ople added, “Let us give the family some time to privately mourn while tending to the medical needs of Nanay Mona.”

Zapata went to Saudi Arabia to work as a tile-setter in 2008. He was arrested and sentenced to death for killing his Sudanese landlord after a heated altercation.

The Sudanese widow asked for a blood money amounting to SR 5 million or the equivalent of PhP50 million. This was later reduced to PhP48 million.

At the time he was beheaded, the Zapanta family, through the help of the Philippine government and some private donors, had raised Php23 million but the aggrieved family had insisted on the full amount of PhP48 million.

Zapanta left behind two children, aged 13 and 11.

The Zapanta family hails from Bacolor, Pampanga. PNA/northboundasia.com