27 February 2013
P4.3-M govt. fund for OFW on Saudi death row blood money, missing?
Migrants’ rights group, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), raises fear that the allotted fund as government contribution to complete the blood money needed for the eventual release of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) on Saudi death row may be lost after the OFW himself issued an open letter to no other than President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
On February 22, 2013, OFW on Saudi death row Rogelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza issued an appeal letter addressed to Pres. Aquino requesting “your office that as soon as possible, the allotted SAR400,000 or US$100,000 which was committed for OFWs on Deathrow, be approved and released in order to complete the amount needed for my freedom. I fear that the aggrieved family may change their minds if I am not able to give the demanded amount the soonest possible time when it's almost 2 years since I was forgiven.”
On the same date, Lanuza’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Edilberto and Letty Lanuza, issued the same appeal saying, “In connection with this, may we humbly request from your good office for the approval and release, as soon as possible, of the allotted SAR400,000 or US$100,000 which was committed for OFWs on Deathrow, in order to complete the amount needed for our son's freedom. Any delays in this regard will mean our son's prolonged incarceration which he had already endured for more than 12 years.”
MIGRANTE partylist Vice-chairperson John Leonard Monterona, also M-ME regional coordinator, said he received the two letters via electronic mail coming from Dondon and his parents, respectively. (See attached the two letters).
Monterona also confirmed that he also received third letter coming from Lanuza dated February 25. The said letter is also directly addressed to Pres. Aquino.
Unlike the previous two letters, on the third letter, Lanuza tallied the amount he and his family, and fellow OFWs and friends have raised from 6 bank accounts opened for the sole purpose of raising the required blood money being asked by the aggrieved family in exchange of forgiveness to spare Lanuza from execution and for his eventual release from jail. (See attached Lanuza’s 3rd letter to PNoy).
“In connection with the NO BLOOD MONEY POLICY set by your Office, the Philippine Government will dedicate only up to SAR400,000 for OFWs on death row who needs blood money. Your Excellency, almost 1.5M Pesos is the only remaining balance I need for my freedom. Please grant me the said amount for time is running out for me,” Lanuza added on his appeal letter to PNoy dated February 25.
Monterona said, with all the PNoy govt. pronouncements through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and even of Vice President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser on OFWs affairs, that the government have pledge to contribute to Lanuza’s blood money amounting to 400,000 Saudi rials (roughly equivalent to P4.3-M) until now the promised amount has not been released.
Per news reports, the DFA is mum on the issue when asked about the 400,000 Saudi rials the PH govt. had pledge for Lanuza’s blood money.
“This worries Lanuza, his family and his friends and we, his fellow OFW, all really campaigned hard to save him from execution by initiating a fund drive to fulfill the blood money. Then, only later the PH govt. through the DFA was forced to commit P4.3-M after the fund drive got a widespread support not only among OFWs but even in the Philippines. But where’s the said amount now as pledged by the govt. to Lanuza?” asked Monterona.
“We are calling Vice President Jejomar Binay, in his capacity as presidential adviser on OFWs concerns to joins us calling on PNoy to instruct, without further delay, the DFA to probe where’s the money now intended for Lanuza’s blood money,” Monterona adding that if the amount has not been lost from the DFA, then it must be released immediately and course through the amount to the proper channel, then to the family of the aggrieved Saudi family to complete the total amount of blood money. Only then we can say Lanuza is saved from execution and will eventually be released. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Vice Chairperson, MIGRANTE Sectoral Party of OFWs and Families
Mobile No. 00966 559428739