OFW Jonard Langamin escapes death row, returns to PH

Mara Cepeda
OFW Jonard Langamin escapes death row, returns to PH
Filipino seafarer Jonard Langamin tearfully reunites with his family after almost 10 years on death row in Saudi Arabia

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino worker Jonard Langamin was able to return to the Philippines on Wednesday, May 25, after the Saudi Arabian government spared him from death row.

Langamin, 32 years old, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday through Philippine Airlines Flight PR 683 from Damman, labor advocate Susan “Toots” Ople told Rappler.

It was a tearful reunion as Langamin’s parents, sweet corn vendors Editha and Clemente, welcomed him at the airport.


In Saudi Arabia, Langamin was found guilty of fatally stabbing his co-seafarer Robertson Mendoza, another OFW working on the same shipping vessel, in 2008.

Ople said the two were involved in a fight.

“Jonard immediately surrendered to the ship captain and he was then turned over to the Saudi government,” said Ople.

Langamin was due to be executed by beheading in 2012, but he was spared after then-presidential adviser on OFW affairs Vice President Jejomar Binay helped him secure a “tanazul” or an affidavit of forgiveness from the Mendozas.

Langamin only needed to raise P2 million in blood money, a form of compensation given to the victim’s family, before the Damdam High Court could release him.  

The Blas F Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, the Office of the VP, and the Department of Foreign Affairs helped ensure Langamin’s return to the country.

Ople said the Langamin family, now living in Caloocan City, is set to visit the Mendozas in Taguig City on Thursday, May 26.

“The Langamin family [wants] to thank Mang Bert Mendoza (victim’s father) and his family in person, and once again, to seek forgiveness for the tragedy that took place 8 years ago,” Ople said. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.