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Lawyers hit gov’t for lack of assistance to Veloso

/ 06:00 PM April 20, 2015

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Mary Jane Veloso’s 6-year old son says he misses his mom as lawyers race for time to save her from execution in Indonesia. TETCH TORRES-TUPAS/INQUIRER.net

LAWYERS of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino sentenced to death in Indonesia, questioned the Philippine government’s half-hearted effort in saving her.

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“Why has the Philippine government until now not formally and satisfactorily responded to the formal communications of her family’s Philippine private lawyers; have not provided copies of pertinent legal papers,” the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said at a press conference Monday.

“Other than being furnished a three-page brief, the government has not made any response to our request for documents,” NUPL said.

Veloso was arrested by the Customs and Excise Authorities at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin.

After six months, she was convicted by the District Court in Yogyakarta of drug trafficking and was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court in Indonesia affirmed her case in 2011.

NUPL said the Philippine government has given Veloso legal assistance only after her death sentence was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Atty. Edre Olalia, NUPL Secretary General, said it also took the Philippines three years and eight months to seek judicial review of Veloso’s case.

Veloso’s family learned from Mary Jane herself in a phone call that she was convicted and learned from her last January 2015 that she is scheduled for execution, NUPL said.

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“Pabalik-balik ang family nya sa DFA and an officer from the DFA said the news was false, hindi daw totoo yan. In January this year, the family received a call from Mary Jane saying she is scheduled for execution this year,” Josalee Deinla, NUPL’s assistant secretary-general for education said.

NUPL only came into the picture last April 7 in a last ditch effort of her family to save her.

Racing for time, Olalia said they already made contact with Veloso’s lawyers in Indonesia and is set to meet with them on Wednesday. Veloso is set for execution this month.

He said they intend to file a second judicial review.

The NUPL is also hoping to obtain Veloso’s handwritten account of her case, which is still in the custody of the government.

Other steps that NUPL is looking into is filing a complaint before the Jakarta police on mandatory human trafficking legal protection order and a letter of appeal to the United Nations.

Olalia said reprieve on Veloso’s execution is until April 24. AC

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TAGS: drug mules, Drugs, Features, Global Nation, Mary Jane Veloso, ofws
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