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Pinoy Abroad

Pinoy in Saudi jail not yet spared from death penalty

April 13, 2012 12:00pm

Philippine officials said Rodelio "Dondon" Lanuza, the Filipino worker who is on death row in Saudi Arabia for the killing of a Saudi national in 2000, has not yet been spared from the death penalty.
In an earlier statement posted on the blogsite of Migrante Middle East, Lanuza said his 12-year ordeal will end soon because the family of the Saudi national he killed finally accepted the offer of blood money.
However, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said a representative of the victim’s heirs had told Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago that they have not yet received the blood money settlement or submitted their tanazul (foregiveness and desistance) to the court.   
The Embassy said it was premature to say that Lanuza's life has been spared since the aggrieved family has yet to formally accept the blood money offer.
"The Embassy reiterated that Mr. Lanuza is still in prison and the process for his release will only commence once the blood money is settled through the court," it said in a statement released Thursday.
"Thus, Mr. Lanuza is not yet spared from the death sentence until the desistance is formally registered with the court, which then will forward the case to the authorities for the release order," it added.
The Embassy explained that the process must be first coursed through the court and be affirmed by the concerned Emir.
"First, the heirs must receive the blood money agreed upon for the settlement of the private rights aspect of the case. The settlement should be recorded at the court with the family executing a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and desistance," it said.
"The tanazul or forgiveness would manifest that the accused was indeed forgiven by the heirs. The case file is then forwarded to the Emir’s Office for him to issue an order for the release of a detainee," it added.
The Embassy thus warned the public against issuing unofficial statements about Lanuza's case.
"Inaccurate information published in the news articles might affect the case considering that the heirs of the victim have yet to formally and forgive Mr. Lanuza," it said.
It specifically denied that a reconciliation team led by former Ambassador Antonio Villamor was responsible for convincing the aggrieved family to formally accept the blood money.  
"The victim’s heirs signified their willingness to accept blood money as early as 27 February 2011.  With the efforts of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee and a relative of the family, Ambassador Tago and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis met with the victim’s father and brothers," the embassy said.

"During that meeting, the heirs expressed willingness to forgive Lanuza and accept blood money in the amount of SAR 3 Million and not SAR 3.5 Million as mentioned in media reports," it added.
Lanuza, 37, went to Saudi Arabia in 1996 to work as a draftsman but got into trouble in 2000 for allegedly stabbing an Arab national to death.
Lanuza insisted that he killed the Arab out of self-defense but was convicted in 2002 with a sentence of death by beheading.
An appeal was filed in 2002,and in February last year.  The aggrieved Arab family eventually agreed to forgive Lanuza but for "diyya", a tradition of Saudi Arabia to require 'blood money' in compensation to the heirs of a victim.
The diyya was set at US$800,000 (around P35 million). - VVP, GMA News
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