NEW YORK – Filipino-American philanthropist and political activist Loida Nicolas Lewis is calling on Filipinos all over the world to empathize with the plight of an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) and his mother, who need the support of every Filipino to stop his execution by beheading.
Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, 37, was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the accidental death of a Saudi national took place in 2000. Since then, Dondon has been in prison.
In February 2011, he was pardoned by the victim’s relatives in exchange for blood money amounting to three million riyal or 35 million Philippine pesos (US$800,000).
Later, Letty Lanuza, his mother, launched a fund campaign, but the drive managed to raise only $13,000 (two percent of the amount needed) in the last nine months.
When Mrs. Nicolas Lewis was approached in connection with the case, she took pity on Mrs. Lanuza and decided to help raise the money needed to save Dondon’s life.
“After his case was brought to my attention and I met his mother in Manila, I knew that I have to help him. Dondon does not deserve a death sentence (by beheading). He is an OFW in jail in Saudi Arabia unjustly,” Lewis said. “We, Filipinos, have to help him because he is our son, our brother, our cousin.”
Following is a part of Mrs. Lanuza’s direct appeal to the kindness of every Filipino.
“My name is Letty Lanuza, mother of Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, who is in prison in Saudi Arabia under a sentence of death by beheading (Lord, spare him!) since 2000. Please believe me when I say that the death of a Saudi caused by my son was accidental. Since 2000, my tears have flowed and my heart has been broken but my prayers to God are unceasing. God has answered my prayers when in February, last year, due to the work of the Embassy of the Philippines in Riyadh and other members of the reconciliation committee, the aggrieved family agreed to forgive Dondon. However, as is the custom in Saudi Arabia, in exchange for Ðondon’s life and freedom, they demand ‘blood money of 35 million pesos.’ We do not have the luxury of time. By February 2012, it would be one year since they forgave and required the blood money equivalent. If by that time, we have very little to show to them, it may mean the withdrawal of their forgiveness and hasten the death of Dondon. Lord, spare him!”
Nicolas Lewis embarked on the fund-raising campaign and asked her friends and contacts to support Dondon. She and several Filipino philanthropists are matching dollar-for-dollar donations by the public.
Lewis is appealing to Filipinos Overseas and Filipinos in the Philippines to help raise the “blood money” as a gift to his mother.
The first anniversary of the family’s forgiveness and condition to receive the “blood money” is next month.
Kind hearts may send their donations by PayPal at www.helpDondon.com and by check. The check donation should be made payable to Loida N. Lewis FBO Dondon Lanuza and mailed to: Loida N. Lewis FBO Dondon Lanuza, P.O .BOX 1080, New York, NY 10028.
Money remittance/wire transfer donation may be sent to Dondon’s mother, Mrs. Letty Lanuza’s bank account (in the Philippines) or through Loida Lewis FBO. Donations sent through any of Metrobank’s overseas branches and international offices are free of charge. For those who wish to send their donations through any of Metrobank’s remittance correspondents, the bank has agreed to waive all bank-related charges.