[Press Release] Group hits Aquino govt. ‘No Money’ policy for death row OFWs blood money request- Migrante-Middle East

A progressive overseas Filipino workers’ rights group in the Middle East today scored the Aquino administration’s ‘No money’ policy for death row OFWs’ blood money saying ‘it is brazenly insensitive to the plight of OFWs on death row despite numerous appeal from their families, relatives, fellow OFWs and various OFWs organizations.’

“Comparatively speaking, the Aquino govt. is much more insensitive to the plight of our OFWs on death row compared to the previous administration,” Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona lamented.

Monterona said despite numerous appeals from the death row OFWs specifically from OFW Rodelio ‘Dondon’ Lanuza and his family, relatives, and friends and pressure from the public and various OFWs organizations, the Aquino govt. is yet to come up its policy on OFWs blood money.

“The Aquino govt. provided P5-M for the MILF, while it has nothing to contribute for the blood money of OFWs on death row,” Monterona lamented.

Monterona recalled last July 20 a technical working group was formed by Pres. Aquino III after a meeting called by Malacanang with representatives of foreign affairs, justice, budget and management, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on political affairs.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda was quoted, during a news briefing last July 21, saying “A decision was reached to form a technical working group to really study the policy when it comes to blood money because its cost continues to increase.”

“We came to know recently and by all indications, the Aquino govt. don’t want to spent even a single centavo for OFWs blood money, specifically helping OFW Lanuza, who has been in jail for 11 long years after his conviction for accidentally killing a Saudi sometime on August 2000,” Monterona avered.

Monterona said OFW Lanuza’s mother called him on Monday (October 24) from her home in the US after she came from a vacation in the Philippines weeks ago to personally appeal to the Aquino govt. for helping them raise the blood money in exchange for her son’s life and freedom.

Monterona added Ms. Lanuza informed him that during her stay in the Philippines, she was able to talk to an official of DFA-OUMWA and a staff of VP Binay office, ‘but dismayed and frustrated because she did not get an assurance that the govt. will be helping them raise the
blood money.’

“We came to know that even DFA Sec. Del Rosario is hesitant in providing blood money for OFW Lanuza from his department’s legal assistance funds,” Monterona added.

Monterona added: “Lumalabas na moro-moro lang ang pagtatayo ng Technical Working Group (TWG) na kunwari pag-aaralan kung saan pwede makahanap ng pondo ang gobyerno, pero sa katunayan ayaw naman nitong
tumulong sa pag-raise ng amount para sa bloodmoney.”

Tap former envoy to Saudi to deal on cases of OFWs on death row

Monterona suggested that former envoy to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor must be tapped by the Aquino government to help deal cases of OFWs on death row specifically negotiating with the aggrieved Saudi family.

“Amb. Villamor was instrumental, under pressure from Migrante’s ‘Save Dematera’ campaign, for saving OFW Sarah Dematera, got her released and eventually was repatriated. He has the experience and expertise to deal cases of OFWs on death row especially in Saudi Arabia and other mid-east countries,” Monterona opined.

OFW Sarah Dematera was sentenced to death after killing her employer on 1992.

She was spared from execution when the family of the aggrieved Saudi family agreed to show mercy for her in exchange of ‘diyya’ or bloodmoney amounting to SR.2.5-M, roughly equivalent to P-28M.

“Amb. Villamor was able to established closeness and good camaraderie with Saudi high-ranking officials which would be an advantage such as seeking assistance with them urging the aggrieved family to accept forgiveness in exchange of blood money and on Dematera’s case he was able to raised the needed amount on a specific date demanded by the aggrieved Saudi family,” Monterona added.

Monterona appeals to fellow OFWs to continue supporting the “Barya mo, Buhay ko’ fund raising campaign for the blood money of OFW Lanuza.

“Let us once again prove that with our concerted efforts, we could save a life of an OFW on death row, while the Aquino govt. is still dilly-dallying, if not at lost, how it could help the death row OFWs who were victims of forced migration due to poverty and joblessness in the Philippines,” Monterona concluded. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.

Muli po akong lumalapit sa inyo nakaluhod nagmamakaawa na tulungan niyo po kami ng magulang ko para sa panawagan namin na ‘Barya mo Buhay ko’ fund drive. Parang awa po. Please deposit your help at Metrobank Malolos Mc Arthur Hi-Way Branch to:

Jovita F. Lanuza
Saving Account #

Rodelio ‘Don2’ Lanuza
OFW in Deathrow (K.S.A.)

Life is the most important and sacred human right. The human blood is impermissible and nobody dares shed it. He who endangers the life of one person is considered to be endangering all mankind


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