The release of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Rodelio Lanuza from death row in Saudi Arabia has been delayed because the Tanazul or Affidavit of Forgiveness still has to be signed by one of his victim’s heirs.
Migrante Vice Chairperson John Leonard Monterona on Monday blamed the Philippine embassy in Riyadh for the delay.
Monterona said there is “gross negligence” on the embassy’s part” since it did not “ensure that the Tanazul will be properly done amid submission of the completed amount of blood money to the Saudi family.”
The court proceedings, according to Monterona, could not proceed because of the unsigned Tanazul.
He noted that on May 23, the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) informed Lanuza that the father of the victim received the blood money and had signed the Tanazul.
In a letter, the Philippine embassy informed Lanuza, citing SRC information, that the Dammam High Court judge is still waiting for one more heir to sign the affidavit.
“After follow up with the Dammam High Court and coordination with the Saudi Reconciliation Committee in Dammam, the Embassy has received information that the process of the heirs signing on the tanazul is not yet complete,” Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzadin Tago’s letter reads.
In December 2008, SRC, Saudi’s quasi-government agency, initiated a reconciliation initiative between both parties, Lanuza and the victim’s family.
It was only after three years that the aggrieved family verbally conveyed to SRC their willingness to forgive Lanuza.
Lanuza’s family and relatives, Migrante and other OFW volunteers and groups began a fund-raising campaign for the blood money.
Last January the Saudi King shouldered 2.5-M rials out of the 3-M rials blood money.
Monterona said ” any further delay on the release of Lanuza from detention constitute an injustice to him.”
Lanuza was meted death by beheading for killing a Saudi man who allegedly tried to rape him.
The Dammam Grand Court (DGC) suspended sentence until the youngest minor child of the victim who at that time of the incident was reportedly three years old, reaches the age of majority.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO