Down on his luck: Dondon Lanuza needs help

Posted at 01/12/14 12:24 PM

MANILA -- Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza may have escaped death row in Saudi Arabia, but he is facing another ordeal back home.

In a letter to Vice President Jejomar Binay, the former overseas Filipino worker appealed for assistance to start anew, noting it has been hard for him to look for jobs and sustain his financial needs.

“It has always been a daily struggle. That’s why I humbly ask for your consideration for any jobs available in your kind office. I’ve tried numerous times to apply to any jobs available; however, the competition with the newly graduates and the professionals is quite high,” he told Binay.

He also appealed for financial help while waiting for a job offer.

Lanuza, who recently admitted suffering from depression, said he is striving hard to get his life back.

“Currently, after being released from the most traumatic point of my life, I’m still in the process of getting my life back together,” he said, adding that his experience taught him not to easily give up.

Psychologists said Lanuza’s case is understandable, given his experiences abroad.

Lanuza was sentenced to death by qissas or beheading for killing a Saudi national but was pardoned upon payment of blood money amounting to SAR 3 million or P35 million and the signing of the "tanazul" or letter of forgiveness by the victim’s family.

He was sentenced to death on June 30, 2001. An appeal for the death sentence was filed on July 29, 2001, but was not pursued upon the advice of elders as a sign of humility.

Since then, efforts have been made to mediate to try and get the victim’s family to agree to accept blood money in exchange for forgiveness. Initially, the family refused and insisted on the implementation of the sentence.

The Help Save a Life Movement was launched by the late Reggie Jose to help raise the blood money and save Lanuza even before the family agreed to accept the blood money.

But on February 27, 2011, the victim’s family agreed to sign a letter of forgiveness and accept the blood money. Initially they demanded, SAR 5 million but this was reduced to SAR 3 million. – with a report from Raffy Beltran, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau