• Saudi Arabia starts Lanuza deportation proceedings

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    The Saudi Arabia government has started deportation proceedings for jailed Filipino migrant worker Rodelio Lanuza, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Wednesday.

    Binay, who is the Presidential Adviser on OFWs Concerns, said he was informed by Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago that the Dammam jail received on Tuesday an advance copy of the order from the Emir of the Eastern Region regarding Lanuza’s release.

    Police Case Officer Ahmad Al Sharie of the Dammam jail then endorsed Lanuza’s case to the travel section for deportation procedures, Binay said.

    Lanuza will be fingerprinted, and the prints to sent to the Criminal Investigation Office (CIO) for clearance. Once the CIO gives its clearance, his exit visa will be issued.

    Binay said the deportation process could take two to three weeks.

    “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,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the Philippine embassy in Riyadh has requested the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to purchase the ticket for Lanuza’s flight to the Philippines.

    Lanuza was sentenced to death for the killing an Arab national in 2000.

    He claimed self-defense, saying the Arab tried to rape him.

    Saudi Arabia’s highest court affirmed the death penalty in 2001 but the Filipino was pardoned after paying SAR 3 million blood money to the victim’s family.

    Of the SAR 3 million, SAR 700,000 was paid by the Philippine government and supporters of Lanuza, while Saudi King Abdullah shouldered the remaining SAR 2.3 million.

    RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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