An overseas Filipino worker was beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Friday for murder, Vice President Jejomar Binay confirmed on Saturday.
Binay said Carlito Lana was taken from his cell at 9:30 a.m. He was executed at 3 p.m.
The Vice President, who is also the presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns, said the Saudi government does not give advance notice to prisoners and their foreign embassies on execution dates. Official notices are sent after the execution.
Lana was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by beheading. The family of his victim, Nasser al-Gahtani, 65, did not issue an affidavit of forgiveness, which is needed under Saudi law to prevent an execution.
Lana shot al-Gahtani then ran him over with a car in December 2010.
Binay said based on reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Lana’s lawyer tried several times but failed to convince the victim’s son to meet Lana’s mother and receive her letter asking for forgiveness.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd also wrote King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz requesting his intercession in convincing the heirs of the victim to accept an amicable settlement.
Lana went to Saudi Arabia in 2008 and worked as a utility man in a hotel in Riyadh. He moved to another job in 2010.
His new employer turned out to be abusive, so quit after three months, a decision that enraged his employer.
When Lana informed al-Gahtani that he will seek the help of the Philippine Embassy, his employer threatened him with a gun. Lana grabbed the gun from al-Gahtani, killing him in the process.
Foreign Affairs department spokesperson Charles Jose said the government will extend assistance to the family of Lana in the repatriation of his remains to the Philippines.
“We are saddened by his death and we condole with his family for their loss. The DFA and our Embassy in Riyadh will extend assistance that his kin may need,” Jose added.
Migrante International condemned Lana’s execution, saying the Aquino government had failed to adequately defend Lana.
“This shows migrant rights are not protected. There is not enough legal assistance given by the Aquino government to our expatriates abroad,” said Mic Catuira, spokesman of the group.
“That is why our Filipinos abroad go through these travesties,” he added.
According to Migrante, six Filipinos have been executed abroad since 2010.
Catuira conceded that the execution took his group by surprise.
About 10 percent of Filipinos work overseas, attracted by the higher salaries than they can earn at home. Their remittances are a major pillar supporting the country’s economy.
The welfare of Filipino overseas workers is a volatile issue at home and Manila has in the past lobbied foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia and China, to save the lives of Filipinos on death row in those countries.
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI AND AFP