Palace: Gov’t did all it could for beheaded Filipino
MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Sunday said it was saddened by the beheading of a Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia and insisted that the government had extended all possible assistance to Carlito Lana who was executed in Riyadh last Friday.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Lana received a “fair trial” for the killing of his Saudi employer, 65-year-old Nasser al-Ghatani. Lana had shot al-Ghatani before running him over with his own car while the Filipino was trying to escape.
“We are saddened by the news that our compatriot, Mr. Carlito Lana, was executed in Saudi Arabia,” he said, citing the assistance provided by the Philippine government to Lana and his family.
“According to the Philippine Embassy, he was given a fair trial,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Lana, 37, was sentenced to death after the family of the victim refused to execute an affidavit of forgiveness (tanazul) in exchange for blood money.
Lana was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by beheading in 2011, according to records of the Philippine Embassy.
An embassy report quoted Lana, a Muslim convert, as saying that his employer was a good man and that they enjoyed a good working relationship, but he was being pressured to pray during Muslim prayer time.
Coloma appealed to Filipinos abroad to “follow the laws of the country they are in and avoid getting involved in criminal activity so this unfortunate incident would not be repeated.”
Coloma said the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia had hired the services of a law office and other legal consultants to “ensure that all of Lana’s legal rights were protected and that all legal processes were followed.”
The DFA admitted that Lana’s execution caught the department by surprise. Vice President Jejomar Binay, President Aquino’s adviser on Filipino workers abroad, said an official notice was sent only after an execution.
“I am the presidential adviser on overseas Filipinos workers’ concerns and yet even I was not notified about the execution,” Binay had told reporters earlier.
Coloma said the government hired the Al Quwaizani law office to handle the case.
He said the government also facilitated the visit of Lana’s mother to Saudi Arabia on two occasions so she could see her son.
“He was given all the support and we ensured that his rights were respected and that the trial and sentencing were according to law,” Coloma said.
As a Muslim convert and in accordance with Muslim tradition, the remains of Lana were buried in Saudi Arabia.
Migrante International, a group advocating for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, said the Aquino administration did not provide enough legal assistance to Lana, the sixth Filipino to be executed abroad since 2010.
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