MANILA: A Filipino murder convict was publicly beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after failing to meet the demand of the Sudanese victim’s family for payment of $1 million to save him from the death penalty, officials said.
Joselito Lidasan Zapanta’s execution was carried out after his family and the Philippine government managed to raise only 23 million pesos ($488,000), said Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose.
The victim’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, Jose said.
Zapanta, a 35-year-old tile-setter, was convicted of murder and robbery by a Riyadh court in 2010.
The Department of Foreign Affairs 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.”
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.