MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino worker on death row for killing a fellow Pinoy in Saudi Arabia may soon be freed after he and his family were granted forgiveness by the victim’s father.
Vice President Jejomar Binay facilitated the dialogue between the victim’s father, Robert Mendoza, and the mother of the accused, Editha Langamin at the Coconut Palace on Wednesday.
The victim, Robertson Mendoza, was stabbed by Jonard Langamin in 2008 after a serious altercation. The act is punishable by execution through beheading in Saudi Arabia.
Under Saudi Arabian law, if the victim's next of kin grants its forgiveness, the State will no longer punish the accused for the crime committed.
Binay assured Mrs. Langamin that her son would be given full legal support by the Philippine government for his speedy release from prison.
Likewise, Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, guaranteed Mendoza’s father that his family would receive all benefits and assistance his son was entitled to.
Meanwhile, Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center was also present during the meeting between the two families.
"The act of forgiveness that would be converted into a formal letter to be submitted to the Saudi court is the key that would soon lead to Jonard's freedom," Ople said in a press statement.
Ople said it was only last year that Mrs. Langamin, a sweet corn vendor, brought her son's case to the Ople Center. The blood money being sought for was pegged at the equivalent of P5 million. However, the amount was way beyond the financial capabilities of the fishball and sweet corn vendor. The family was only able to raise about P30,000.
Ople said Mrs. Langamin kneeled in front of Mendoza’s father, in gratitude for his forgiveness.