Filipino spared from death in Saudi


MANILA, Philippines—A doomed Filipino worker who tirelessly campaigned on Facebook for his freedom will soon walk out of Saudi Arabia prison as a free man, a migrant campaign group announced on Thursday.

Rogelio “Dondon” Lanuza, who was on  death row and spent more than 11 years in Dammam Jail for killing a Saudi national who tried to sexually abuse him, will be freed after the aggrieved family accepted the blood money, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said.

“At last, my ordeal comes to an end,” Lanuza said in a statement released by Migrante-Middle East.

“I have been in this dire situation for the past few years and the flame of hope was about to be extinguished, yet people from all walks of life have encouraged me to continue my plight, and for that I am truly grateful,” Lanuza said.

Monterona said the “formal blood money acceptance of the aggrieved family” spared Lanuza’s life. His death sentence by beheading was confirmed by Saudi’s highest court in 2001.

A reconciliation team led by former Ambassador Antonio Villamor was successful “in convincing the aggrieved family to formally accept the blood money offered by Lanuza’s party,” the statement said.

The money was raised through the online campaign “Barya Mo, Buhay Ko” on the social networking site Facebook where Lanuza has at least four full fan pages.

Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis also actively raised funds and campaigned for his release.

“Ma’am Loida Nicolas Lewis has proven to be the final catalyst for my case to lift off to its realization. She, being a model of sincerity a God fearing woman and the epitome of a Filipina for a just cause was the moving hand towards my appeal to influential and common people alike to push my case forward. I am forever indebted to you and pray that your tribe increase,” said Lanuza.

Lanuza said that the influence of social networks helped make his “predicament known to countless countrymen from abroad and [in] the Philippines.”

“I am so blessed and humbled to those faceless men and women who have contributed financially for my cause including the Filipino Community Groups and our unsung Household Workers who did not blink to shell off their hard earned money to help me out,” Lanuza said.

Lanuza also thanked the media “who have followed my case ever so faithfully” to keep the issue in the public sphere.

“Being behind bars has opened my eyes to how much freedom can be so delicate that taking things for granted in the future is no longer an option for me,” Lanuza said.

“I am forever in the debts of such fine and noble people and the Filipino community for helping me realize my dream to finally be with my family and to become fruitful once again to the society,” he said.

Lanuza argued during the trial he killed the Arab man as an act of self defense. The incident occurred in August 10, 2000, when Lanuza and his friends came back to the house of their Arab host after partying.

“I was defending my dignity,” said Lanuza.

In an unanswered letter of appeal to President Benigno Aquino on October 8, 2010, Lanuza said that he “was charged with and convicted for the killing of a Saudi national, who attempted to sexually abuse his person.”

Migrante-ME called on the Philippine government to also help save other Filipinos on a death row in the Middle East.

“There are about eight OFWs languishing in various jails in the Middle East, six of them were sentenced to death, four are facing possible death sentence upon conviction on various criminal offenses,” Montenora said.

Originally posted at 10:11 a.m.

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  • Nald_Ap

    “In an unanswered letter of appeal to President Benigno Aquino on October 8, 2010, Lanuza said that he “was charged with and convicted for the killing of a Saudi national, who attempted to sexually abuse his person.””
    Stress on the unanswered.  

  • I M

    Mabuhay at napalaya si Ka Dondon! Pero kung ako ang magiging kapitbahay nito, nakakatakot makasalubong o makasagutan ito sa daan.

    Pag 33x ang saksak, ibig sabihin ibang klase ito kung magalit. No one knows what exactly happened. Yes, it’s self-defense, pero ang tanong eh nung unang saksak ba niya, tumakbo ba palayo sa kanya yung Arabo? Ang Arabo ba was pleading for Dondon to spare his life? Hinabol pa rin ba ito ni Dondon at pinagsasaksak nang tuluyan?

    • kasoy

      ikaw kaya gahasain? ano magagawa mo na di mo inakala magagawa mo?

  • unknown_ni_most

    The case of Dondon and those who were executed in other countries is a clear proof that death penalty is not a solution to end or reduce crimes.  These people knew that there is death penalty in their host country, but they still commit it.  For those who wanted to revive death penalty in the philippines, please re-think your position.  Death penalty is irreversible.  What if the court erred in their judgement?  Give the offender a chance to change, 

    • generalproblem

      no i want death penalty in the phillippines. in saudi there is an option you can pay blood money and that what he did. There are so many criminals poor and rich alike and we should put them to death because they are cancer of the society.

  • Dynamic

    True to life indeed:

    This is what happens when men are allowed to marry women as much as they can(five or even more) to that extent.How a bout other men(the poor)who tries to marry a woman but none to avail.Is it scarcity or extremism of such faith? religious or otherwise by the way…

  • koikoi

    How much is the blood money? 18million US dollar?
    If I am in Mr. Lanuza’s situation, and if I really did kill someone in self defense, I will not pay that amount. Instead, I will gladly face the death penalty with the condition that the money will be sent to my family or be used in any humanitarian way. Why should I give something to my abuser’s family?

    • Raul

      18 million is nothing for the family of Lanuza and what for? Saving his life is much more precious and there is no need to face death, He is not a criminal. Its worth it !!!

  • dickenhead

    selosan ang nangyari dyan alam nating lahat na nagkalat ang mga pinoy na bakla sa saudi, na may mga bf na mga arabo. I always help the needy but not this types of people


    ♣ ♣ ♣ Better conform to their customs while in a FOREIGN LAND, so that things will never go OUT of HAND. ……… Habang nasa IBANG BAYAN, marapat na tayo’y umayon sa kanilang NAKAGAWIAN, nang sa ganon ay di tayo ipasok sa kanilang BILANGGUAN. … (ref: Proverbs 16:20). ((^_^)) ♣ ♣ ♣

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