THE Saudi Arabian government has started the deportation proceedings for jailed overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Wednesday.
Binay, the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns said he received information that the Dammam Reformatory Jail received on Tuesday an advance copy of the order from the Emir of the Eastern Region regarding the release of Lanuza.
“I was informed by Ambassador Ezzedin Tago today, through DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, that the jail authorities have received the advance copy of the settlement of Mr. Lanuza’s case from the Dammam High Court,” he said.
Upon the receipt of the documents, Binay said Police Case Officer Ahmad Al Sharie of the Dammam Reformatory Jail endorsed Lanuza’s case to the travel section for deportation procedures.
“After receiving the documents, Mr. Al Sharie sent a memorandum to the Director of the Dammam Reformatory Jail on August 27 requesting approval for the fingerprinting [basamat]of Mr. Lanuza,” he said.
Binay said the fingerprinting was part of the four-step process for Lanuza’s deportation.
“First, upon approval by the Jail Director, Mr. Lanuza’s case file will be endorsed to the travel section for deportation procedures. Jawasat [Saudi Passport Office] authorities will then assign a basamat number for Dondon,” he explained.
After Dondon’s fingerprints are taken, they will be sent to Jawasat and then to the Criminal Investigation Office (CIO) for clearance. Upon receipt of the clearance from the CIO, the exit visa will then be finally issued, according to the vice president.
Binay said that according to Al Sharie, the entire deportation process could take two to three weeks to be completed.
“Our Assistance to Nationals Case Officers from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh will return to Dammam Reformatory Jail on August 28 to discuss with the Jail Director how the Embassy can help in expediting the issuance of Mr. Lanuza’s exit visa,” Binay said.
While waiting for the deportation process to be completed, the Riyadh Philippine Embassy, he added, has already requested the Department of Foreign Affairs to purchase the ticket for Lanuza’s return flight to the Philippines.
Lanuza was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of killing an Arab in 2000.
The OFW argued he had acted in self-defense and was just defending his dignity, claiming the Arab had tried to rape him.
Saudi Arabia’s highest court affirmed Lanuza’s death penalty in 2001 but was pardoned after paying SAR three million blood money that the victim’s family had asked.
Of the three million riyals, 700,000 was paid by the Philippine government and supporters of Lanuza, while Saudi King Abdullah shouldered the remaining 2.3 million.
Binay lauded Ambassador Tago and the Riyadh Philippine Embassy staff for their “untiring dedication” in monitoring Lanuza’s case.
He also assured the family of Lanuza that the government is doing everything in its power to expedite the release of the OFW.
“We all would like to see him home at the soonest possible time,” the Vice President added.