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Filipino freed after 13 years in Saudi jail

Worker paid SAR3 million in blood money to Saudi Arabian family

Gulf News

Manila: An overseas Filipino worker was freed and returned to his family in Manila, after payment of blood money and pardon from the family of the Saudi national whom he killed in self defence 13 years ago.

After he arrived in Manila onboard Etihad flight, Roedlio “Dondon” Lanuza expressed thanks for his “new life”. He also thanked his family, the Philippine government and supporters who prayed for him and raised the blood money that was demanded by the family of his victim.

After the Saudi Arabian family demanded for P35 million (SAR3 million) blood money, the Philippine government, Lanuza’s family, and several private groups raised only P8.12 million (SAR 700,000).

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz raised the balance SAR 2.3 million that paved the way for Lanuza’s freedom. His neighbours and supporters scheduled the holding of a thanksgiving Mass and a boodle fight in his neighbourhood in Manila’s Sampaloc district on Saturday. A press conference was also scheduled on that day.

Lanuza killed the Saudi national on August 10, 2000. Accompanied by then Philippine ambassador Rafael Seguis, he surrendered to authorities on August 15 of the same year. He was sentenced to death on June 30, 2001. His lawyers appealed for the reversal of the death sentence on July 20 of the same year. The victim’s grieving family initially refused to accept blood money.

But in February 2011, the aggrieved party changed its mind and demanded blood money in the amount of SAR 5 million, which was later reduced to SAR 3 million. Fil-American Loida Nicolas-Lewis responded to the request of Lanuza’s mother Letty, and raised together with other private groups the amount of SAR450,000. The Philippine government raised SAR250,000. And the Saudi king donated the biggest amount, SAR2.3 million.