MANILA, Philippines–Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Rodelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza, who has been incarcerated in Saudi Arabia jail since August 2000 for unintentional killing of a Saudi national, today issued his last appeal to the Philippine government officials through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to immediately dispatch embassy officials to attend and follow up his release with the Saudi authorities.
“To our honorable PH officials, Vice President Jejomar Binay and officials of the DFA and PH embassy in Saudi Arabia, kindly hear my one last appeal: Kindly immediately dispatch your staff in Riyadh to attend and follow up my release from Saudi authorities (Governorate office (Imarah) and Dammam Central Jail, and Dammam Court),”Lanuza, who issued the above statement through John Leonard Monterona, MIGRANTE vice chairperson and MENA regional coordinator.
Most recent photo of OFW Rodelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza at his cell in Dammam Central Jail, Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. This photo was sent by Lanuza to MIGRANTE’s John Leonard Monterona via MMS.
Yesterday, Monterona said he had a chat with Dondon, who had requested him to convey his last appeal. “Dondon decided to have a low profile status now so as not to cause any issue at all with the aggrieved family.”
“Dondon confirmed to me the information that the victim’s family has already issued a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness. The information came from a high-ranking official of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC), a quasi-government agency which job is to mediate between the aggrieved and offending parties in cases where death penalty is meted out. The SRC official has been helping Dondon since 2004,” Monterona said.
On February 2011, the SRC succeeded to convince the victim’s family to accept the offer of blood money in exchange of their forgiveness to Lanuza. The victim’s family asked P32-M.
Early this year, the Saudi King shouldered P25-M, the rest of the amount was raised by Dondon and his family, his relatives and friends, and fellow OFWs and OFW groups headed by MIGRANTE through a fund raising campaign for Dondon’s blood money.
Monterona added, “Dondon wish to clarify that though he already got the forgiveness from the aggrieved family, a hearing at the Dammam court is required to formally order his release. Thus, it is prudent on the part of the PH embassy to dispatch its embassy officials to attend and follow up Dondon’s release to the concerned Saudi authorities.”
Below is a brief statement issued by Dondon Lanuza through MIGRANTE’s John Leonard Monterona:
“I would like to express how thankful I am for the development of my case. I know that there are so many issues that the embassy is currently attending to. But I would like to appeal to our government to see this through until I am finally home. I heard that VP Binay said they could not give an exact date, I would like to plead to the embassy here in Saudi that the only way for this case to be expedited is if someone from the embassy will make a constant follow up for the release order to be issued. I have an inmate who is a Yemeni whose brother was constantly following up with the Dammam court, unfortunately I have no one else to rely on here except our embassy. I continue to plead with you to treat this case as if I am your brother or son. I have already lost 13 years of my life, please give me the chance to finally live a normal life once again and end my suffering. My loved ones are already waiting for me back home. Please heed my plea. Thank you.” –Rodelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza

“Help us convey Dondon’s one last appeal to Pres. Aquino III and VP Binay to direct the DFA and PH embassy in Saudi Arabia to attend and follow up Dondon’s release by sending embassy staff to Imarah (Governorate Office) and Dammam Central Jail and the proper court in Dammam. We need to do this one last step for Dondon’s freedom,” Monterona added.