OFW FREED FROM SAUDI DEATH ROW NOW HOME
|Dante Altizo (right) meets Jejomar C. Binay
September 8, 2014: An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia is finally home.
Dante Altizo arrived in Manila Thursday (September 4) and immediately paid a courtesy visit on Vice President Jejomar C. Binay at the Coconut Palace.
âSa mga ganitong pangyayari, nagpapasalamat tayo sa Panginoon dahil nailigtas ang buhay nâya. Naniniwala akong dahil na rin ito sa maraming mabubuting tao sa mundo,â Binay said.
Altizo thanked the Vice President and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the assistance he received from the government throughout the course of his case.
Binay reassured OFWs facing various charges abroad that the government will continue to monitor their cases and strive to secure their freedom.
âHindi po nagpapabaya ang inyong pamahalaan. Nariyan po ang DFA, sa pamamagitan ng ating mga embahada at konsulado, para tulungan kayo sa lahat ng yugto ng inyong kaso,â Binay said.
Binay told Altizo that he will receive benefits from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and that he can avail of the government's reintegration package for returning OFWs.
Altizo was sentenced to death by beheading in 2008 after killing his roommate in a scuffle. The victim's heirs initially asked for SAR 600,000 (P7.1 million) in blood money.
However, during the final hearing on September 25, 2012, Judge Al Motairi appealed to the victim's heirs to lower the amount to SAR 400,000 (P4.8 million) to which they agreed.
On April 7, 2014, Altizo together with representatives from the Philippine Consulate, attended the final settlement of the case at the Al Baha General Court in Al-Baha, Saudi Arabia.
Judge Faris Al-Harithy revealed that an Arab Sheikh, who wished to remain anonymous, paid Altizo's blood money.
On April 15, the same judge informed the consulate's representatives that the court will issue an order to free Altizo from prison.
He also said Altizo may be repatriated to the Philippines or remain in the kingdom now that he had embraced Islam. (Sources: ovp.gov.ph, 08/09/2014)