Saudi ‘blood money’ rescues doomed Filipino from execution


Rodelio Celestino Lanuza

An overseas Filipino worker who has languished on death row in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade has been saved from execution with the Saudi government’s shouldering nearly P25 million in blood money for his victim’s family, the kingdom’s embassy in Manila said Thursday.

The embassy said the Saudi government paid 2.3 million riyals in blood money that Rodelio Celestino Lanuza was supposed to pay to the heirs of Mohammad bin Said Al-Qathani, whom the Filipino killed in self-defense in 2000.

The amount covered the balance of 3 million riyals (P32.54 million) left after Lanuza’s family paid an initial 700,000 riyals (P7.6 million).

Welcome gesture

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed the development and thanked the Saudi Arabian government for the “humanitarian gesture.”

“This will pave the way for the issuance of an affidavit of forgiveness, or tanazul, in Mr. Lanuza’s favor. We hope that as soon as all legal procedures are completed, Mr. Lanuza will finally be reunited with his family,” DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said in a statement issued Thursday night.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy said Lanuza’s family had appealed for help to raise the remainder of the blood money.

It said the Saudi Arabian government made the “royal goodwill gesture” as a result of coordination with Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presidential adviser for migrant workers’ affairs.

Another one on death row

Binay is also working to raise P44 million to save Joselito Zapanta, another Filipino migrant worker facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

Zapanta was sentenced to death for killing his Sudanese landlord Saleh Imam Ibrahim in 2009 during an argument over rent.

It is feared that Zapanta’s execution will go through in March if he fails to raise the blood money.

At least 90 Filipinos are on death row around the world for various crimes, according to the DFA.

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  • joerizal

    Self-defense tapos kailangan ng blood money? eh paano kung siya ang napatay meron bang makukulong sa mga mabahong kilikiling arabo? Napaka-walanghiya talaga nila at kung wala lang silang langis sa ilalim ng lupa nila, walang magkukumahog na magtrabaho sa kanila.

  • Ed Lapiz Notes


  • Ed Lapiz Notes


  • Bring back Phils Glory. Unite.

    Shukran Katir Saudi Arabia, Shukran Katir. May God bless you more. I will just serve my work in Saudi Arabia as best as I can and try to teach my Saudi colleagues as much knowledge that I know…I hope that one day, Saudis can find a 2nd home in our country…You are a brother country to us…thank you once again.

  • redkinoko

    Binay requested the Saudis to help out and pretend it was their money at work knowing it’d be too exorbitant if he paid the blood money himself, even though the amount is peanuts to the VP. It’s not a one way deal of course. In exchange, Binay promised to strengthen the Saudi lobby power in Philippine affairs once he comes to power, which is largely concerned with the state of Muslim Mindanao’s independence.

    There is no free lunch with diplomacy, even for cases as this.

  • Todd

    Mohammad bin Said Al-Qathani, whom the Filipino killed in self-defense in 2000 (He got the death penalty for killing someone in self-defense?)

  • joshua


    • malek_abdul

      Wala po nagawa si Binay dito. Mga kabayan natin ang lumikom ng blood money at ang kulang ay inabonohan ng hari ng Saudi. Please don’t give credit to whom it is not due.


    MAY kutob ako tumiba’ dyan si BEEnay.  Ano kamo, 20%?  Bueno, hindi na masama yan KUNG 20%….kapalit nb pa-banjing-banjing lang sa eroplano at kung saan-saan.  Sarap talaga ng buhay ng VP…..Very Productive!

  • Edgardo Mendoza

    dami pera sayang naman marami na mabibigyan ng magandang buhay sa mga pilipino nakakaawa pinas sa pag sagip sa isang criminal sa pag babayad ng blood money alam naman niya batas sa saudi pag pumatay ka patay karin bakit pag aaksahan ng gobyerno ang tao na ito wala naman mapapala ang mga pilipino!

    • malek_abdul

      Wala pong pera ang gobyerno dito. Galing po ang pera sa mga donasyon at ang 25 milyon pesos ay galing sa Hari ng Saudi. Nakikisawsaw lang ang mga pulitiko sa issue na ito.


    I knew they killed over here. But now I know they kill over there too.

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