By Edgar C. Cadano
The Saudi Gazette
FAHAD Reynaldo Cortez, a Filipino car body technician, who killed a Pakistani taxi driver was sentenced to death by a Riyadh high court last Monday. Cortez, who is in New Malaz Jail in Riyadh, told The Saudi Gazette Wednesday that his death sentence was read to him Monday by the judge through a Filipino court interpreter.
Cortez, a 39-year old Bicolano and resident of Guagua, Pampanga, is appealing to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to use her good offices with Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf to help him plead with the relatives of his victim to forgive him and accept blood money.Under Shariah law, as regards private right, the victim's family has the option of pardoning the killer and accepting blood money, in which case the death sentence can be annulled.
The murder took place on May 17, 2002 when Cortez, who was working at Al-Aslah Car Workshop in Riyadh's Sinaya District, flagged down a taxi and got into a heated argument with the taxi driver.I took out a knife from a toolbox that I had inside my bag, Cortez told The Saudi Gazette.
But the driver was able to grab the knife. In the ensuing fight Cortez said he was stabbed twice in his right leg but he wrenched the knife back and plunged it into the chest of the taxi driver.Seeing the Pakistani driver out of the taxi and down, Cortez said he panicked and jumped into the car to escape from the scene.He said he wanted to commit suicide by crashing the taxi into a bigger vehicle.