Once-doomed Filipino in Saudi a signature away from home


Rodelio Celestino Lanuza. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — All he needs is one last signature and jailed overseas Filipino worker Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza can finally come home.

Thirteen years of incarceration in Saudi Arabia will soon end for Lanuza after the Saudi Emir signs the deportation order to effect his release, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Thursday.

“I was informed by (Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago) that all that is needed for Dondon to leave Saudi Arabia is for the Emir to sign his deportation order,” said Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW concerns, in a statement Thursday.

Sentenced to death initially, Lanuza escaped capital punishment after the family of the Saudi national he killed in self defense in 2000 forgave him. He, however, had to pay them 3 million rials (P32 million) in blood money. Having difficulty raising the amount, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz came to Lanuza’s rescue and provided the balance the Filipino could not raise–2.3 million Saudi rials (P25 million).

The Emir then issued an order for Lanuza’s release but he was informed that the order “should specifically state that Lanuza be deported to the Philippines before his exit visa could be processed,” Binay said.

“Ambassador Tago said the Jawasat [Directorate General for Passports] instructed the Dammam Reformatory Jail to request for a deportation order since the order issued by the Emir was for Mr. Lanuza’s release only,” Binay said, adding that the draft order was sent to the Emir for his signature last week.

“Upon signing by the Emir, an advance copy will be sent to the Dammam Reformatory Jail. The Jawasat will then issue Dondon’s exit visa,” Binay said.

The Vice President said the Department of Foreign Affairs had purchased an airline ticket to Manila for Lanuza but withheld confirmation of his flight until he received his exit visa.

Lanuza was sentenced to death for the killing of Saudi national Mohammad bin Said Al-Qathani. Saudi’s highest court affirmed his sentence in 2001, but he was pardoned by the victim’s family who issued a “tanazul” or affidavit of forgiveness upon receipt of the blood money.

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  • Olibo

    So beware to all Filipino males, not only women are sexually-assaulted in the middle-East.

    • Hunter421

      Beware of being punished for murdering someone?

      • walaywalay


      • jayemdee_412

        May I ask aren’t the Ampatuans being tried NOW in court for the murder of more than 50 people?

  • juan de la cruz

    there’s always a price for every freedom and selling out your faith is something unforgivable.

    • jayemdee_412

      And what made you think Lanuza sold out his faith in exchange for his freedom?

      • juan de la cruz

        look at him now. philippine government should never used ofw fund on such case.

      • jayemdee_412

        Just as I thought.

  • gisingpinas

    Next time maging pasensiyoso. Wag mainitin ang ulo

  • Hunter421

    He was convicted of murder, not killing someone in self-defense. No country will respect Philippine courts unless the Philippines respect foreign courts.

    • walaywalay

      EXACTLY—YOU DON’T STAB SOMEONE IN THE BACK AND CALL IT SELF-DEFENSE–GET CONVICTED ABROAD –> The Philippine government on Friday thanked the Saudi government for its
      decision to shoulder nearly P25 million in blood money for jailed
      Filipino CONVICTED MURDERER Rodelio Celestino Lanuza

      BUT GET RAILROADED HERE –> On May 5, 1999, Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo found seven young men guilty of kidnapping sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong on July 16, 1997, in Cebu City
      Larrañaga presented witnesses and evidence, including photographs, to prove he was in Quezon City at the time of the crimes.
      Years later, his friends continued to proclaim his innocence. In a press conference in November 2004, they claimed that Larrañaga was with them at a culinary school in Quezon City where he was enrolled at around the time the crime was committed.
      Larrañaga himself, in a letter he sent to the United Nations human rights committee in August 2005, made the same claim.

      • M C

        Then, they should file a case of mistrial. Same as when a supposed “judge” called Tolentino would not accept evidences presented by Mr. Hubert – and that “person” (kun tao pa sya) called Tolentino had the gall to destroy someone’s life by putting someone behind bars only because of a public clamor?

      • walaywalay

        not mistrial—-appeal –> DENIED
        Paco was a spanish filipino they deported him to spain on the condition he never be released spainn asked many times to release him RP says no-

  • klepto

    Dalhin muna yan sa embassy at tirahin ang puwet bago bigyan ng ticket pauwi.

    • Bino Rocha

      ganyan ba ginawa sau?

      • klepto

        My credit card has $12,500(P500,000) limit. I don’t need alms from the useless government.

  • Olibo

    TRy to work first in Saudi Arabia before you judge this man.

  • M C

    Well, he claimed “self defense”. Who knows what’s the real truth? Let him just come home and write a book so he can recover money and pay back the government for the blood money we contributed. He should not just be contented being interviewed for free from networks who will be interviewing him when he comes back. At this point, he should get a Manager already who will know how to negotiate to get him the right fees for interviews and appearances and pay a percentage of that back to the government. Surely, a book entitled LIFE INSIDE A SAUDI PRISON will sell worldwide. He can get a ghost writer and tell the story and get the big book publishers to print it. The Manager can arrange for advance payment. The Filipina maid who worked for Sadam lost that opportunity – her info should have been an intelligence trove.

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    masyado mang maltrato mga arabo. hindi ko alam kung bakit dinidiyos ang mga yan kapag umapak ditto. dapat kasing lupit lang natin sila kapag andito sila.
    holdapin, bugbugin, yariin sa wepaks, gahasain ang anak ng mga yan kapag umapak ditto. that is kung matagalan nyo amoy nila.

  • chitgoks

    wow… jailed for self defense … hmmm wonder what the truth really is

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