An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who is on death row in Saudi Arabia asked to Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), a Filipino migrants rights group, to help convey his appeal to Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III to raise the needed 'blood money' in exchange of his freedom while assailing that the Philippine Embassy is "giving him wrong information and false assurances and is 'sleeping' on his case."
Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona confirms that Don Lanuza, on Monday, sent him text messages expressing his disgust to the PH embassy as the latter alleges that embassy officials are 'sleeping' on his case and providing him wrong information and false assurances.
"For info po, kausap ko lang now ang head ng Saudi Reconciliation Committee (SRC) informing me na wala daw dumalo sa meeting last night from our embassy. Four (4) months na akong napatawad ng aggrieved party on the promised na iaabot ang agreed amount of 'blood money'," Lanuza's text message to Migrante's Monterona.
In 2000, OFW Lanuza was convicted for killing a Saudi national, which he claimed was an act only to defend his self. Since then, he is incarcerated in Dammam Central jail, Dammam, eastern part of Saudi Arabia.
In 2003, the family of the aggrieved party issued an 'affidavit of desistance', which means they will issue 'forgiveness' to Lanuza in exchange of undisclosed amount of diyya or 'blood money', but this arraignment initially failed for unknown reason.
"OFW Lanuza informed me that sometime in February this year, the Saudi Reconciliation committee arranged a meeting with the family of the aggrieved party which was by PH embassy officials. During the said meeting, the aggrieved party agreed to issue 'forgiveness' to OFW Lanuza providing the diyya (blood money) will be produce in two months time," Monterona added after speaking with Lanuza over the phone.
Lanuza, speaking to Monterona, added: "Nangako din ang embassy sa SRC na within two months maiaabot nila ang 'blood money' to the aggrieved party pero 4 months na po ang nakalipas walang pang ginagawa ang embassy to help me raised the amount for blood money."
"OFW Lanuza expressed serious worries that the aggrieved party may suddenly change their mind as the agreed date to provide the 'blood money' already lapsed; thus he is pleading for assistance from the PH government through the DFA," Monterona added.
Monterona disclosed that he got a chance to talk with an official of the SRC yesterday.
"The SRC official told me that it took them 6 years to get the nod of the aggrieved family to issue 'forgiveness' in exchange of a diyya. He urged the PH govt. to help OFW Lanuza raised the amount as time is ticking fast," he continued.
Monterona asked Pres. Aquino III to provide assistance to OFW Lanuza and other OFWs in Saudi death-row.
"The President should take this opportunity to prove his critics wrong -that he is attending OFWs issues and concerns -and he is providing assistance to our OFWs especially distress, run away, and jailed," Monterona averred.
"We call on Pres. Aquino to instruct the DFA and other concerned government agencies to attend and get serious on its efforts to save the life of OFW Lanuza and others on death row," Monterona added.
On Sunday, Migrante-Middle East gave a failing grade to Pres. Aquino for his 'unsatisfactory' performance on his first year in office. The President assumed the presidency on June 30 last year.
"We are giving him a failing grade of 65 percent, 10 points below the 75-percent passing grade. During his inaugural address, PNoy made a marching order to all concerned government agencies to attend on various OFWs issues and concerns that fell short on the deaf ears of his officials. After that, we never heard of any orders and actions from him improving the plight of our OFWs and their dependents," Migrante-ME declared.
Monterona said he appreciates the President reaction to their criticism. "These are constructive criticisms, not to assail him personally," he said.
"If the President himself could claim that the DFA, embassy and labor officials abroad are not performing well and miserably failed to do their job and meet the expectations of the OFWs communities and groups, then he should not think twice to fire these inept officials," Monterona suggested.
Meanwhile, the OFWs communities in Saudi Arabia and around the world have initiated a fund-raising campaign to help OFW Don Lanuza raise the needed amount for the 'blood money'.
"On their own little way, OFWs groups and communities are now raising funds for the blood money of OFW Don Lanuza. We would like the Aquino govt. do its share," Monterona concluded.