Donations still needed to save OFW on Saudi death row

By Raffy A. Beltran, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Jan 31 2013 11:39 AM | Updated as of Jan 31 2013 07:39 PM

DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia - A bank account for blood money donation was recently opened by the Saudi Government for Filipino death row convict Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza.

Lanuza who has been in jail in Dammam since 2000 was sentenced to “qisas” or death by beheading for the death a Saudi National.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has secured the bank account for blood money donation for Lanuza in coordination with the Saudi Reconciliation Committee in Dammam.

Two years ago, through the effort of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (February 2011), an amicable settlement was reached between the victim’s family and the accused (Lanuza) with the payment of diyya or blood money amounting to 3 million Saudi Riyals or P32.5 million to save the overseas Filipino worker from beheading.

The embassy said the bank account was opened through the instruction of the Office of the Governor (Emir) of the Eastern Region. All donations to the account will be managed by the Office of the Governor of the Eastern Region and the Saudi Reconciliation Committee in Dammam.

To those who would like to help Lanuza may send their blood money donations to:

Name of Account : Emarah of Eastern Region
- Diyah (Blood Money) of Mohammad bin Saad
Name of Bank : Al Rajhi Bank
Account No. 50900-001-0006080000970
IBAN No. : SA9880000509608010000970

Filipino-American businesswoman and known philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis welcomed the move to open an account for Lanuza.

“Now, public fund raising can be done, because before the opening of this bank account, the family of the victim did not want any publicity,” Lewis said.

Lewis is at the forefront of the fund raising campaign in the United States and the Philippines to raise the needed blood money to save Lanuza’s life.

Lewis said they have so far collected $20,000 in the United States. There is also a total of P2.5 million in Letty Lanuza’s (Dondon’s Mother) account in the Philippines.

The donated money received so far is equivalent to 400,000 Saudi Riyals. According to Lewis, they will send the amount to the newly opened account for Lanuza’s blood money. The Philippine Government also pledged 400,000 Saudi Riyals.

In total, about 800,000 Saudi Riyals have been raised. Around 2.2 million Saudi Riyals still needs to be raised to complete the blood money.

Lewis and Lanuza’s family continue to appeal to everyone to send whatever they can to the bank account.

“I am calling on all Filipinos, especially those outside the Philippines, here is another OFW that needs your help to save his life.” Lewis said.