VP Binay on Lanuza – Saudi gov’t has asked victim’s kin to sign blood money acceptance

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay assured the family of Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza that he will be freed once the process for his release has been observed.

Binay also asked Lanuza’s family for patience and said what is important is that he has been spared the death penalty. He said another Filipino who was pardoned ahead of Lanuza is still awaiting the completion of the release process.

“I understand how Dondon and his family feel. I am asking for patience. There is a process that we need to observe. The embassy has been consistently following up his papers but we need to respect their process,” Binay said.

Binay said Ambassador Ezzedin Tago informed him that the Saudi Reconciliation Committee already notified the victim’s family to send a representative to sign the printed copy of the judgement. The printed copy has an updated notation that the family has accepted the blood money and is no longer pursuing its earlier demand for qizas or beheading.

He also dispelled insinuations that the Philippine embassy in Riyadh is not exerting efforts to help fast track Lanuza’s release.

“Early this month, our embassy officials already met Director Ahmad Al Tuwaijri of the Emir’s Office in Dammam to inform him that there was already a court decision regarding the tanazul executed by the heirs of the victim in favor of Lanuza,” Binay said.

Director Tuwaijri informed the embassy officials that his office had already received a copy of the settlement of the private rights of the aspect of the case, he added.

Binay said after the tanazul is signed, Lanuza’s family will have to wait for the affirmation of the settlement by the Appellate Court. After that, Lanuza’s case file from the court will be sent to the Emir’s office.

The Emir’s office will then issue an order on the settlement of the case and the complete case file will be sent to the Ministry of Interior for clearance.

Upon the issuance of a clearance by the Ministry of interior, the Emarah will direct the concerned police authorities including jail authorities to begin deportation procedures.

Lanuza was in death row for unintentionally killing a Saudi national after the latter allegedly tried to sexually abuse him. The Saudi’s highest court affirmed his death penalty in 2001 but he was pardoned after the family asked for blood money.

The Philippine government together with private individuals and non-government organizations raised 700,000 riyals (P7.6 million) for Lanuza’s blood money. The Saudi king meanwhile shouldered the balance of 2.3 million riyals needed for his release.#