AL KHOBAR, SAUDI ARABIA - The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has clarified the status of the case of Rodelio “Dondon” Celestino Lanuza, an overseas Filipino worker on death row in Saudi Arabia.
Lanuza has been in jail since August 2000 for killing Saudi national Mohammad Al Qathani.
In a draft press release from the Philippine Embassy which was acquired by ABS-CBN Middle East, the embassy aimed to shed light on the misleading information circulating online and on the social media sites.
A press release by Migrante Middle East stated that “the formal acceptance of the aggrieved family spared Lanuza’s life”. The embassy said that this statement is premature.
The Diyya or blood money has not yet been paid to the heirs of Qathani.
The claim that “a reconciliation team led by former Ambassador Antonio Villamor was responsible in convincing the aggrieved family to formally accept the blood money” was also belied by the embassy.
As early as February 2011, the heirs of the victim signified their willingness to accept the blood money.
Ambassador Ezzedin Tago and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis met with the victim’s father and brothers through the efforts of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee and a relative of the family. In that meeting, the victim’s family expressed their willingness to accept 3.0 million Saudi Riyals, not 3.5 million as mentioned in the media, and forgive Lanuza.
The embassy also explained the process the case has to go though. First, the family of the victim must receive the blood money as agreed upon for the settlement of the private rights aspect of the case. The courts should record the settlement and the family should execute the tanazul or the affidavit of forgiveness and desistance.
With the execution of the tanazul, manifesting that the accused has been forgiven, the case file is then sent to the Emir or Governor’s office, who will issue a release order for the accused.
Lanuza is still in prison and not yet spared from the death sentence and the process for his release will start only when the blood money is paid to the victim’s family in the court.
The public is then reminded by the embassy that inaccurate and misleading information in news articles might affect the case of Lanuza. The family of the victim has yet to receive the blood money and formally forgive him.
As of the moment, the entire amount of the blood money has yet to be completed.
Filipinos around the world are urged to help in whatever way they can to raise the blood money.
For those who are willing to help visit www.helpdondon.com