PH thanks Saudi for saving Pinoy on death row
Saudi shoulders the P24.9-M blood money for Dondon Lanuza, a Filipino on death row

SPARED OFW. The Saudi government ransoms Filipino national Rodelio 'Dondon' Lanuza, who was on death row. Photo from Migrante International's website

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Friday, February 1, thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for shouldering the P24.9-M blood money for a Filipino sentenced to death due to murder.

The Saudi government has decided to shoulder 2.3-M Saudi riyal in blood money, equivalent to P24.9-M, to spare Filipino national Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza from the death row. Lanuza’s family was only able to raise 700,000 Saudi riyal or P7.5-M.

“The (Philippine) government expresses gratitude to the Saudi government for the humanitarian gesture, which paves the way for the issuance of an affidavit of forgiveness (tanazul) in Mr Lanuza’s favor,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The DFA also thanked Vice President Jejomar Binay and philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis for leading fundraising efforts for Lanuza.

“This positive development is a result of the tireless effort and steadfast commitment of Filipinos working together. We hope that as soon as all legal procedures are completed, Mr Lanuza will finally be reunited with his family,” the DFA said.

Another Filipino remains on the death row in Saudi, however. The execution of Filipino national Joselito Zapanta, who was convicted for murder with robbery, was deferred in November to allow his family to raise P55-M in blood money.

Under Saudi’s laws or based on Islam, the punishment should be equivalent to the offense committed. Blood money, however, may spare those to be punished with death. – with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/

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