MANILA: More than 75 Filipinos are facing execution in various parts of the world in 2016, with 41 of them are on death row in Malaysia alone.
Majority of Filipinos who are overseas face murder or drug-related charges, UCA News quoted Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose as saying.
At least 27 other Filipinos are on death row in Saudi Arabia where Filipino worker Joselito Zapanta was executed five years after he was convicted for the murder of a Sudanese national over a rent dispute, the report said.
Zapanta was sentenced to death when the victim’s family refused to accept the “blood money” collected by the Zapanta family in exchange for a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness, the it added.
Zapanta’s family and other groups reportedly managed to only raise 23 million pesos (US$490,000) of the US$1-million blood money demanded by the Sudanese national’s family. That fund is being managed by the government.
Meanwhile, Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga reportedly said the money collected by the government and private individuals supposedly for Zapanta’s blood money should be used for the family he left behind and to help other Filipino workers facing the death penalty in other countries.
“The blood money should be utilized to free detained [overseas Filipino workers], and also to help their bereaved families,” Bishop Santos, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People was quoted as saying by the news portal.
The prelate further said that because the blood money came from the sufferings and sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers “it should be used to enhance life, promote life, and preserve life.”
“Don’t ever use the blood money for personal interests nor for any political motives,” said Bishop Santos, adding that it “will never bear positive results nor good fruits.”
The prelate was quoted as saying by UCA News that Zapanta’s death showed the travails and perils beng faced by Filipinos abroad.
“This has always been a great pastoral challenge for us, to help Filipino workers be better prepared and equipped to deal with new cultures and way of life in a foreign land,” Bishop Santos added.