• Filipino in Saudi death row may be freed soon

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    OVERSEAS Filipino worker (OFW) Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, who has been on death row in Saudi Arabia for the past 13 years, is one step closer to securing his freedom.

    This after the victim’s family has already issued a tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness in favor of Lanuza.

    “The Saudi Royal Court (SRC) in Dammam has confirmed that the victim’s family has already issued a tanazul,” Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Wednesday.

    He said that on May 22, Case Officer Jerome Friaz of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh received a call from Lanuza in which the OFW said he got a text message that the victim’s heirs had already issued the tanazul.

    “Dondon said he got a text from Sheikh Ahmad Al Othai­men, Head of the SRC in Dam­mam, stating that the family of the victim had already issued the tanazul,” he added.

    Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, said that Philippine Embassy officials in Riyadh were able to confirm the settlement of the blood money and the issuance of the tanazul with Othaimen himself.

    With this development, Binay said that it would now be up to the Dammam court to issue the release order for Lanuza.

    He, however, declined to speculate when Lanuza would be repatriated.

    “I do no want to speculate as there is a process to be followed. But what I am sure is that Dondon will no longer be executed,” he said.

    He also lauded Philippine Embassy officials headed by Ambassador Ezzedin Tago for their diligence in following up Lanuza’s case.

    “I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who has helped save Dondon Lanuza’s life. May your passion to serve our kababayans never waver,” Binay said.

    The Vice President again expressed gratitude to Saudi King Abdullah for his generosity in agreeing to shoulder the balance of the blood money for Lanuza.

    Ritchie A. Horario

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