Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pols urged to help OFWs in death row

By Karen Lapitan
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 02:44:00 12/23/2008

Filed Under: Labor, Regional authorities

MANILA, Philippines – Citing hat the 2010 elections are already approaching, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is challenging politicians to start showing off by helping those who are on Death Row overseas like him.

Rodelio Lanuza, 34, has been in jail in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, since August 2000 and sentenced to die by beheading in public.

The beheading was postponed until the son of the victim could decide on it when he reaches legal age, or seven years from now.

However, Lanuza was still worried about his situation. “I don’t know what might happen in the coming days. If the Saudi Arabia authorities would demand it (beheading), it can be done immediately, even tomorrow,” he told the Inquirer in an e-mail.

He was convicted after he allegedly killed a Saudi national in August 2000, which he claimed was a case of self-defense since the victim assaulted him.

He, however, said he was asking for forgiveness from the family of the victim.

Lanuza has tried to seek help from some politicians, but his request for financial assistance has been declined.

He tried to ask for help from the office of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada but this was also not granted, allegedly due to budget constraints.

Lanuza sought the help of other politicians like Sen. Aquilino Pimentel and Rep. Mikey Arroyo but got only a referral to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He said he was asking for help for the education of his children since his family had no other means to support their studies. He also sought legal assistance.

“The government is neglecting my case,” Lanuza claimed.

He related that the DFA had been sending letters to his family, claiming that the office was acting on the case. “That’s a lie. I don’t even have a lawyer who can help me right now.”

The DFA, he said, tried to give him legal assistance through lawyer Sheikh Saleh Al-Wadani.

“The supposed lawyer was asking for $10,000,” Lanuza said.

“I am appealing to PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) to personally talk to the King of Saudi Arabia to ask forgiveness on my behalf,” he said. “[After all], the election is [approaching].”

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