The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh have been extending assistance to Rodelio Lanusa, an overseas Filipino worker who killed his Saudi co-worker during a drinking spree in August 2000, according to a DFA press statement.
Lanusa claims that he did the offense in self-defense from the drunken advances of the victim who attempted to sodomize him at knifepoint.
He was sentenced to death by qisas (beheading) by the Damman Grand Court (trial court) in May 2002. An appeal is presently pending before the Tameez Court (appellate court). He is being assisted by a lawyer whose services have been engaged by the Embassy.
The imposition of death penalty is presently suspended due to the minority of the victim’s son, who will reach the age of majority in six years. Under Saudi law, the victim’s son is the next of kin who can grant the tanazul.
The hearing on the private rights of the case will resume when he reaches the age of majority.
The Embassy is pursuing all avenues to convince the victim’s family to grant the tanazul (affidavit of forgiveness) to settle the private rights of the case.
Last September, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor met with a member of the Saudi royal family, who is also a senior official in the Saudi Eastern Region, to request for his help in arranging a meeting between the Embassy and the victim’s family.
The Ambassador met with other Saudi government officials, who committed to arrange a meeting with the victim’s family for the tanazul.
The Embassy is also extending consular assistance through periodic jail visitations and constant monitoring of the progress of the case.
The DFA, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, is in constant touch with Lanusa’s family to provide them updates on the case.