May 25, 2016
Sweet corn vendor Editha Langamin and her husband, Clemente, welcomed home today their son, 32-year old Jonard Langamin, who was recently released from the Dammam detention center in Saudi Arabia after spending seven (7) years on Saudi Arabia’s death row.
Langamin arrived at 10 A.M. aboard Philippine Airlines flight no. 0683 from Dammam, Saudi Arabia. He has been gone from the Philippines for the past nine (9) years, eight of which was spent on death row.
He was sentenced to death for stabbing fellow seafarer Robert Mendoza, Jr. resulting in the latter’s death while onboard a shipping vessel under Saudi Arabia’s territorial jurisdiction in 2008. The incident occurred after a heated altercation between the two seafarers.
The aggrieved family forgave Langamin through the execution of a formal letter of forgiveness also known in Saudi Arabia as “tanazul” to the court. The letter saved Langamin’s life from execution by beheading in March 2012.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa lahat ng tumulong lalo na sa pamilyang Mendoza sa kanilang kapatawaran na ipinagkaloob sa akin,” a tearful Langamin told the media. (“I wish to thank all those who have been helping me especially to the Mendoza family for their forgiveness.”)
Langamin also thanked the Ople Center for looking after his family for the past seven years while he was in jail, and for following up the case with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Vice-President.
The OFW said that he wanted to spend time to rest with his family, and to look for a local job to help his mother, a stroke victim, recover from her ailment. He also wanted to visit Mr. Bert Mendoza to reiterate his thanks and once again to seek forgiveness.
Under Saudi law, upon submission of the “tanazul” to the trial court, the case file would be forward to the concerned Saudi authorities to inform them that the private rights aspect has been settled. The case would then be referred to the Lower Court that would decide on the public rights aspect of the case, meaning the length of imprisonment or actual sentence to be handed down.
Edith Langamin thanked Vice-President Binay, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Ople Center, and especially the Mendoza family for helping her son, Jonard throughout the years.
OFW advocate Susan Ople said that the Blas F. Ople Policy Center has been following up on Jonard’s case since 2011. It was the Ople Center that helped the Langamin family in reaching out to the Mendoza family through its patriarch, Robert Mendoza.
The Ople Center urged the Philippine government to assist both families as they strive to move on from a lengthy ordeal.
In particular, former labor undersecretary Ople recalled that the Mendoza family extended forgiveness even when the agreed upon blood money of Php 4-million has not been completed. Only Php2-million had been paid to the aggrieved family through the intercession of Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
“This homecoming is also a story about forgiveness, and for this we are eternally grateful to the family of OFW Robert Mendoza, Jr. Their act of forgiveness has made this reunion possible,” Ople said.
The Blas F. Ople Center will facilitate a meeting between the victim’s father and Jonard Langamin tomorrow at 3 pm in Taguig City where the Mendoza family resides.
“The Langamin family wanted to thank Mang Bert Mendoza and his family in person, and once again, to seek forgiveness for the tragedy that took place eight years ago,” Ople said.