1 February 2013
We are elated upon hearing the report that our fellow overseas Filipino worker Rogelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza, at long last, will soon be freed after the Saudi government reportedly shouldered the payment of 2.3-M riyals of blood money which he and his family has to pay to the kin of the Saudi national he unintentionally killed in 2000.
For more than 12 long years, Migrante spearheaded a campaign along with various OFWs organizations in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East what we dubbed ‘Save OFWs on death row’; Lanuza being one of our priority cases of OFWs on Saudi death row.
Migrante and allied organizations have to ‘move heaven and earth’ and have campaigned hard to save the life of our fellow OFW Dondon Lanuza and others like him doomed in Saudi jails.
Upon Dondon’s request, after we have talked over the phone several times, he was on his prison cell in Dammam Central Jail, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, while yours truly was in Riyadh then in 2010, we agreed to initiate a fund raising campaign to fulfill the blood money being asked by the aggrieved Saudi family.
I was franked to Dondon telling him that the amount we may raise will fall short of the total amount of blood money being asked from him, but at least we could engage the PH government to help him as he feels then that the PH govt. through its embassy officials in Riyadh are not seriously attending his case.
“Don, it will be a suntok sa buwan if we can raise the total amount of blood money; not even a quarter of it. But initiating a fund raising campaign for your blood money is the right thing we can do and seek the assistance from the millions of our fellow OFWs worldwide.” I repeatedly told this to Dondon so as not to give him false hope.
I promised Dondon that Migrante and our allied organizations will seek the assistance of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC), a quasi-government agency which mandate is to amicably settle cases with death penalty between the aggrieved and offending party. To his own credit, Dondon was able to establish good relation to the officials of the SRC. He later introduced me to one of the SRC officials and got a chance to talk to them.
Until we received this good news –the Saudi govt. shouldered the balance of the amount of blood money after Dondon’s family initially paid the 700,000 Saudi rials, most of which are from the fund raising campaign.
We salute our fellow OFW Dondon Lanuza for his determination as he repent long time ago on what he had done.
On behalf of Dondon and his family, relatives and friends, we would like to convey our sincerest appreciation to the Saudi government under the leadership of his Highness King Abdullah, custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
To those who have contributed to “Save Dondon Lanuza’ fund raising campaign and to our fellow OFWs who have been with us in our ‘Save OFWs on death row’ campaign, we thank you all! This victory is ours!
We will continue to appeal to spare the lives of other Filipinos on Saudi death row. On our monitoring, there are about 6 of them aside from Dondon.
Our ‘Save OFWs on death row’ campaign will not end upon Dondon Lanuza’s eventual release. We will intensify our efforts until no OFWs are on death row in Saudi Arabia. Like most OFWs, they too were victims of forced migration.
Reference: John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator