MANILA, Feb 1 (Mabuhay) -– A Filipino sentenced to death for killing a Saudi national has been spared from execution after the Saudi Arabian government agreed to pay the P25.3 million balance in “blood money” demanded by the victim’s heirs.
Vice-President Jejomar Binay said the Saudi government’s goodwill gesture spared the life of Rodelio “Dondon” Celestino Lanuza who was sentenced to death by beheading for killing a Saudi national out of self defense. Lanuza has been in jail since 2000.
“He’s already spared from that penalty of being beheaded. We received a message from the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia. All efforts were directed to sparring him from that penalty and that’s the good news,” Binay said.
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia said in a press release that the Saudi government will shoulder the remaining balance of SR2.3 million in blood money that was asked by the family of the victim.
“The Embassy is pleased to inform that the Royal Directive was for the payment of the balance of SR 2,300,000 for handing over to the heirs of the victim through the concerned court.”
“The Saudi Government, after the heirs of the victim waived their right, has paid the balance of the blood money,” the embassy said.
The Vice-President said the victim’s family demanded P32 million in blood money. He said Lanuza’s family was able to raise SR700,000 which is equivalent to P7,700,000.
“Because of the Royal Decree, pinunan nila yun. The Royal Decree’s subject is Saudi Riyal of 2.3 million or equivalent to P25,300,000,” he said.
Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs, expressed his gratitude to the Saudi Arabian government and likewise cited the efforts made by Philippine Embassy officials in the Kingdom and nongovernment organizations who continue to follow up Lanuza’s case.
“That’s one request of the embassy for us to look for the family of Dondon Lanuza to inform them of the good news. I gave instructions na to my staff yesterday,” he said.(MNS)