Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International celebrates the freedom and home-coming of Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who has been on Saudi death row for the last 13 years.
Lanuza, 40, has been granted freedom by the Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) after his family and supporters were able to raise the blood money or “diya” amounting to Php35 million needed to pay the family of his victim.
Lanuza was jailed 13 years ago for the murder of a Saudi man in 2000. He maintained that he killed the man in self-defense. Last February 2011, he was finally forgiven by the family of the victim and was required to raise the blood money in exchange for his freedom.
“We are very happy for Dondon and the Lanuza family. All our efforts have not been in vain, and we attribute this mainly to Dondon’s fighting spirit and the collective efforts of friends, supporters and family,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that Lanuza will be welcomed by Migrante International when he comes home.
“There is still much help needed to campaign for the lives of other OFWs on death row. Dondon’s experience and story will serve as an inspiration to our kababayans who have been losing hope, especially after the execution of Filipinos in China under the Aquino administration.”
The migrant leader said that it is only fitting that Lanuza came home today, September 19, on the day that overseas Filipino around the world are conducting a Zero Remittance Day for Zero Pork.
“Dondon’s case is testament to poor legal assistance and welfare services being given OFWs in distress. If not for our active and unwavering campaigning and lobbying together with his family and friends, the Philippine and Saudi governments would not have given proper attention to Dondon’s case,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that they are confident that as a free man, Lanuza will continue to carry the cudgels for distressed OFWs, and that he will join the growing movement of overseas Filipinos against the pork barrel system and corruption in government. ###