A Filipino worker on death row in Dammam for killing a Saudi in 2000 could be
released after a group led by former Philippine Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor
lobbying for his release is due to come to the Kingdom next month to formally
hand over part of an agreed sum of blood money to the victims' family.
The family of Rodelio “Don Don” Lanuza hired New York-based lawyer Loida Lewis
as part of their untiring efforts to save him from execution. Currently, he's
detained at the Dammam Central Jail.
The victim’s family granted a pardon to Lanuza in February 2011 in exchange for
blood money which, according to the Daily Inquirer, amounts to SR3 million.
“Ambassador Villamor confirmed to me last Friday by telephone that he was in
the final stages of forming a small delegation to come to Saudi Arabia to
settle the blood money payment,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East
regional coordinator, told Arab News on Wednesday.
Monterona said Villamor was hoping to sign a blood-money agreement with the
victim’s family and that he was invited as part of the delegation.
Monterona had earlier suggested Villamor be used by the Philippines’ government
to help in dealing with cases of Filipinos on death row in Saudi Arabia,
particularly in negotiating with victims’ families.
“Villamor was instrumental in saving Sarah Dematera from execution for killing
her employer in 1992. She was spared execution when the aggrieved family showed
mercy to her in exchange for blood money amounting to SR2.5 million,” Monterona
In 2010, Villamor was also involved in rescuing Idan Tejano and Marjanna
Sakilan who were also convicted of killing their pregnant employer on May 21,
2001. Tejano is from Batangas province, south of Manila, and Sakilan from Jolo,
Sulu, in southern Philippines.
Tejano and Sakilan were sentenced by the Jeddah Shariah court to death in May
2004 after they were convicted of robbing their employer and killing her.
But their sentence was suspended because a daughter of the victim was still a
minor. Under Saudi law, the family members of the victim must have a say in
determining the nature of the punishment and this can be done only when they
are adult (18 and above).
In the meantime, they were put in prison and actually served eight years and
seven months of their 12-year sentence by the time the Saudi Arabian Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MFA) informed Villamor, who was then Philippine ambassador
to Saudi Arabia, of their release. Aside from imprisonment, they also received
(source: Arab News)