ANTIPOLO City, July 11, 2011â€”Migrante Middle East has urged the government to create a task force that will focus on the cases of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), facing death sentence in the Mid-East.
Regional coordinator of Migrante-ME, John Leonard C. Monterona, said the governmentâ€”especially Vice President Jejomar C. Binayâ€”should consider creating such a task force in order to save these OFWs from death.
Two prominent instances, Monterona cited, are the cases of Rogelio â€œDon-donâ€ Lanuza and Joselito Zapanta, both are incarcerated in Saudi Arabia, but staying in two separate jails. Both were found guilty of murder. Lanuza, 32, had been in Dammam City Central Jail since 2000, while Zapanta had been losing hope since the family of the victim is said to have refused the blood money (diyya). He has been in the Malaz Central Jail since 2009.
â€œTime is running out for the two OFWs in death row. Although in the case of Lanuza, the aggrieved family signifies its intent to accept â€˜diyyaâ€™, they have imposed a time frame for the negotiations. Zapanta, on the other hand, has shrinking hope of escaping death as the kin of the Sudanese he accidentally killed has rejected diyya, when it was offered by his lawyer during hearings weeks ago,â€ Monterona said.
Monterona said that Lanuza often calls or text him, pleading to facilitate for the expeditious release of the diyya or blood money; and so is Zapanta.
â€œIâ€™ve been calling the PH embassy weeks ago to inquire of their efforts to save the lives of OFWs Lanuza and Zapanta. I got a chance to speak with Ambassador-designate Ezzadin Tago, but he could not give me clear answers and kept mum on the issue,â€ Monterona revealed.
Aside from the two, there are other cases of OFWs on death row, which Migrante-ME is closely monitoring.
â€œWe are handling the case of brothers Rolando and Edison Gonzales, Eduardo Arcilla, and Carlito Rana. Also, the cases of Edgar Maligaya and Ryan Tolen, both are under litigation for murder,â€ he said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)