Migrante and Family of OFW in Deathrow Demand DFA to Engage Them in Saving Kin’s Life

28 May 2010

The family of an overseas Filipino worker in death row and Migrante International, insisted on the DFA to respect their right to be actively involved in saving the life of Joselito Zapanta, an OFW in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to death for killing “in self-defense” his Sudanese landlord.

“We demand the DFA to hold a dialogue with us, Migrante and Joselito’s family, to reveal their plan and accommodate our ideas and efforts. We will not fully entrust the life of Joselito to the current government who has the record of having the most number of OFWs sent to the gallows,” said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante in a press conference in Quezon City with the Zapanta family.

Based on Migrante’s records, a total of six OFWs were beheaded during President Arroyo’s term and 28 are still sentenced to death in the Middle-East alone.

“Hindi kami papayag na buong-buong ipagkatiwala ang buhay ng aking anak sa ating pamahalaan. Hindi na kami papayag na lagi na lang paghintayin at paasahin sa mga balita na madalang pa sa patak ng ulan kung dumating. Gusto naming maging aktibong kalahok, gusto naming matiyak na magagawa ang lahat para mailigtas ang buhay ng aking anak,” said Joselito’s father Jesus Zapanta who came all the way from Mexico,Pampanga with his wife, daughter and Joselito’s children.

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The Zapanta family blasted on the DFA for continuously keeping them in the dark and disregarding their right to information. Hesus said that until now, the authorities have not provided them formal reports to give them a concrete picture on the situation of the case of their loved one. It took three weeks before the officials informed them that Joselito’s case was already brought to the Appellate Court and it was only provided when the family personally visited the DFA in May 19. “Sobrang tindi ng pangamba namin ng mga panahong ito dahil nabalitaan naming hanggang Mayo 10 lamang pwedeng mag-apela,” said Jesus.

“Under the present administration, death becomes death because OFWs facing grave offenses are not provided legal assistance while their families are kept in the dark and advised to be mum. We challenge the new government to overhaul such fashion. We challenge Noynoy to prove her Anti-Arroyo stance by making the outgoing regime accountable to the deaths of the 6 OFWs,” concluded Martinez.

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson

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