Officials said that   Philippine worker Joselito Zapanta, on death row in Saudi Arabia  for murder, has won a four-month reprieve to raise four million riyals ($1 million) of “blood money” and avoid execution by beheading .

After formal appeals  by Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay , Saudi authorities approved the stay to stop the execution scheduled for November 14.

Joselito Zapanta was convicted of killing his Sudanese landlord over a rental dispute by  a court in Saudi Arabia in 2010.  Saudi law will allow a person to escape penalty of death if the victim’s family accepts payment of what is termed “blood money”.

His family is now being helped by the Philippine government to raise this amount to be paid to the Sudanese victim’s relatives so that the death penalty be stopped. The family has raised 400,000 riyals so far and have four months to raise the remaining amount .

With 1.2 million  Filipinos working in the kingdom as manual labourers, technicians, saleswomen and maids , Saudi Arabia remains  the top destinations of overseas Filipinos .