Mnila, Philippines, MINA — An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Thursday appealed to President Duterte to intervene in the case of Mary Jane Veloso, the overseas Filipino worker on death row in Indonesia after a drug trafficking conviction, Philstar reported
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, chair of the CBCP episcopal commission on migrants and itinerant people, specifically called on the President to fulfill his promise to help Veloso and save her from execution.
The prelate made the call after the Court of Appeals (CA) recently junked the bid of prosecutors to get the deposition or statement of Veloso in Indonesia for the criminal case against her alleged recruiters, Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
“The President, through Solicitor General Jose Calida, could question the decision of the CA not to allow Mary Jane’s deposition. Through the Solicitor General, it should be elevated to the Supreme Court,” Santos explained.
The bishop lamented the CA decision, saying Veloso should be allowed to testify against her recruiters.
“How can Mary Jane defend herself and prove her innocence when CA prevents her from testifying against her traffickers? It seems the CA is giving leeway to Sergio and Lacanilao. It is Mary Jane who must be protected, defended and saved, not the human traffickers,” Santos stressed.
“The CA decision is just an added pain and continuous agony for Mary Jane,” he added.
Veloso, a mother of two, was arrested in Indonesia in April 2010 for smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin.
In October 2010, she was sentenced to death by the Indonesian court after being found guilty of transporting illegal drugs.
Veloso was given a last-minute reprieve by Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo in April 2015.
Veloso had claimed that she was a victim as she was supposedly duped by Sergio and Lacanilao to smuggle illegal drugs into Indonesia. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)