LOIDA NICOLAS LEWIS THANKS PHILIPPINE AND SAUDI GOVERNMENTS, FILIPINO DIASPORA AND FILIPINO EXECUTIVES FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO FREEDOM OF OFW
NEW YORK, NY (February 4, 2013) – Filipina-American businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis today expressed her heartfelt thanks to the Philippine and Saudi Arabian governments and to the thousands of Filipino diaspora members and others who made monetary contributions that helped secure the freedom of OFW Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza after 12 years of imprisonment in Saudi Arabia. Lewis singled out Philippine President Benigno Aquino Jr., Vice President Jejomar Binay, Secretary Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario, major donors Manuel V. Pangilinan, judy Araneta Roxas, Tessie Sy Coson, JJ and Minette Soriano, Quintin and Linnette San Diego, Virginia Co, and Manny Tordesillas for their assistance in the cause.
Lewis also thanked the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and the Royal Family for their contribution in providing additional funding toward the freedom of Lanuza. “This morning, Arab News called me up to say that the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and the Royal Family is going to fill up the blood money that is due to the family of the victim in the case of Dondon Lanuza. When I heard that, my heart just leaped with joy because it is a miracle,” said Lewis. “For the King of Saudi Arabia, I guess his heart was touched by the prayers of thousands of Filipinos, including Letty Lanuza the mother. So the King of Saudi Arabia is filling up the $600,000, so in effect, DonDon Lanuza will be walking a free man this year,”
Lewis also thanked the many people who helped, ”Para sa lahat sa inyong tumulong kay DonDon Lanuza, sa mga kaibigan kong nagbigay ng medyo malaki-laking pera.”
Lanuza is expected to walk out of prison a free man this year. Originally on death row, Lanuza was forgiven two years ago by the family of the deceased and given a chance at freedom on the condition that he pay the family 3 million riyals, which is approximately 35 million pesos or $800,000. The fundraising campaign picked up steam when Lewis joined the cause in December 2011, and together with Lanuza’s mother Letty Lanuza, staged a press conference in New York alerting the public to the plight of the now 37-year-old native of Quezon City. Lewis formed a committee to save Lanuza.
Lewis lobbied the Philippine government to donate their maximum blood money allocation of $100,000, which private Filipino citizens from all over the world matched.
In addition, Lewis thanked diplomats Ambassdor Ezzedine Tago, Ambassador Antonio Villamor and Undersecretary Rafael Seguis as well as Saudi Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hassan for their help.
“Sa lahat sa inyong tumulong, sa pagdasal at nagpadala ng pera, kay Letty Lanuza, kay Ambassador Villamor, o kaya sa akin, maraming-maraming salamat,” Lewis said. “And I’m sure DonDon himself is thanking you in his prayers. God is good, all the time.”