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Saudi king saves OFW from death

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) sentenced to death for killing a Saudi national has been spared from execution after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulzaiz Al Saud agreed to pay the P24.9 million balance in “blood money” asked by the victim’s heirs.

Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday the Saudi king’s goodwill gesture spared the life of Rodelio Lanuza, who was sentenced to death by beheading for killing Mohammad bin Said Al-Qathani in self defense 12 years ago.

Binay said the Lanuza family was only able to pay 70,000 rials or P7.5 million to secure his freedom.

“King Abdullah’s gesture of goodwill once again affirms the strong ties of friendship and brotherhood between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Binay said.      

He said that the Philippine government conducted back-channel negotiations for years with the Saudi government for Lanuza’s release.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Saudi embassy said Lanuza’s release was “the result of collective efforts and cooperation between the Saudi embassy in Manila and the Office of the Vice President.”

Binay lauded the Philippine embassy in Riyadh headed by Ambassador Ezzedin Tago for his hard work to ensure Lanuza’s freedom.

He also thanked Saudi Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hassan for his efforts to secure the release of Lanuza, saying “he has worked as tirelessly as those of us in the Philippine government.”

Lanuza, 38, has been in jail in Dammam, Saudi Arabia since in 2000.

Lanuza was finally forgiven by the victim’s family in February 2011.

Triumph of OFWs

Meanwhile, Migrante International expressed joy over reports of Lanuza’s impending release from prison.

The group also thanked those who contributed to the “Save Dondon Lanuza” fund raising campaign and other OFWs facing death sentence in various countries nationwide.    

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairman, said Lanuza’s experience and story would serve as an inspiration to OFWs who have been losing hope, especially after the execution of four Filipinos in China in recent years.

Martinez cited the cases of brothers Rolando and Edison Gonzales and Eduardo Arcilla, who were sentenced to death by beheading in Saudi Arabia last 2006 for the murder of fellow Filipinos Romeo Lumbang, Jeremias Bucud and Dante Rivero. – With Mayen Jaymalin

 

 

vuukle comment

ABDULZAIZ AL SAUD

AMBASSADOR EZZEDIN TAGO

BINAY

FILIPINOS ROMEO LUMBANG

GARRY MARTINEZ

LANUZA

MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL

SAUDI

SAUDI ARABIA

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