CITING information shared by a reliable source, a migrant workers group on Tuesday said that Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Rodelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza who was in Saudi death row since August 2000 could be freed in two weeks time.
“Our source, who requested not to be named, shared to us the information that Lanuza could be released in a week or two from today,” said Migrante leader John Leonard Monterona.
Monterona, who is also Lanuza’s spokesman said, prior to the information shared by their source, they are expecting his release during or after the Ramadan’s Eid el Fitr -that is either on the second or third week of August.
An official of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) last week conveyed to Lanuza that his case files were already forwarded to the Emir’s office and were received by the Emir’s deputy.
Along with the files was the completed, court-affirmed Affidavit of Forgiveness issued by the Saudi family.
He said there is only one remaining important requirement, that is the required clearance from the Ministry of Interior (MoI), before Lanuza could be freed from detention.
“The Emir’s office will forward Mr. Lanuza’s complete case files to the MoI and will request for the issuance of clearance for Mr. Lanuza,” Monterona explained.
Upon receipt of the clearance in favor of Lanuza from the MoI, the Emir’s office will then send an order to the police and jail authorities in Dammam to arrange and effect his deportation, according to Monterona.
In a related development, Lanuza’s kin already sent a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) requesting to prepare and process Lanuza’s travel documents and airplane ticket.
Lanuza was sentenced to death for accidentally killing a Saudi national, who allegedly attempted to rape him.
But Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday urged Migrante to stop giving unofficial deadlines on the date of Lanuza’s release.
“Alam mo iyan ang nagiging problema. Naglalagay sila ng deadline. Paano ka magdedeadline hindi mo naman hawak iyon. Tapos nagagalit sila [That’s the problem, they are setting deadlines. How can I set deadline since I have no control over the case?],” Binay said in an interview at the Coconut Palace.
According to the Vice President, these pronouncements are causing Lanuza’s family unnecesary stress.
He added that such pronouncements also unduly raise the public’s expectations and give the impression that government is not acting on Lanuza’s immediate release.
Binay, who is also the Presidential adviser on OFWs Concerns said that the delays were uncontrollable on the part of the Philippine government.
He also said that the culture and bureaucratic processes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be respected, especially in the month of Ramadan.
Binay also emphasized that gratitude is due the Saudi government, particularly the Saudi king who paid the balance of the blood money that Lanuza’s family was unable to raise. The amount reached 27.8 million pesos (SAR 2.3 million). Lanuza’s family was able to raise approximately P7.6 million (SAR 300,000).