Philippine Embassy in Riyadh over Dondon Lanuza Case

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) received a report from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh concerning media reports regarding the case of Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, a Filipino who has allegedly been spared from the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

After receiving media reports on the matter, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago confirmed from the representative of the victim’s heirs that they have not yet received the blood money settlement nor did they submit their tanazul or affidavit of forgiveness and desistance to the court.

The statement by Migrante Middle East that “the formal acceptance of the aggrieved family spared Lanuza’s life” is premature, the Embassy said.

It also belied 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.”

Ambassador Tago likewise clarified that the victim’s heirs signified their willingness to accept blood money as early as February 27, 2011.

With the efforts of the Saudi Reconciliation Committee and a relative of the family, Ambassador Tago and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis met with the victim’s father and brothers.

During that meeting, the heirs expressed willingness to forgive Lanuza and accept blood money in the amount of three million Saudi Riyals and not 3.5 million as mentioned in media reports.

The Embassy also clarified that the process must be done through the concerned court and subsequently affirmed by the region’s Emir.

First, the heirs must receive the blood money agreed upon for the settlement of the private rights aspect of the case. The settlement should then be recorded by the court and the family will execute a tanazul.

The tanazul would manifest that the accused was indeed forgiven by the heirs. The case file is then forwarded to the Emir’s Office for the issuance of a release order.

Until all these steps are completed, Lanuza is not yet spared from the death sentence.

The Embassy reiterated that Lanuza is still in prison and the process for his release will only commence once the blood money is settled through the court.

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