Veloso’s legal team to try to prove her innocence
A member of Philippine death row inmate Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso’s legal team, Agus Salim, says the team will use the postponement of her execution to prove her innocence.
“[Her family] were happy even though it is only a temporary reprieve. They cried tears of happiness but they know this doesn’t mean her execution is cancelled,” he said on Wednesday.
Veloso was among nine death row inmates slated to be executed in the early hours of Wednesday for drug trafficking charges. She was arrested in possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin at Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta in 2010.
The government announced Veloso’s execution would be postponed after the Philippine government said Veloso was needed to testify as a witness for alleged trafficker Maria Kristina Sergio, who voluntarily turned herself in to the police on Tuesday. Veloso was one of Sergio’s trafficking victims.
Agus said Veloso’s legal team would try to file a third appeal after the investigation of Sergio began.
“We want to prove that she was just a migrant worker who was trafficked and became a drug courier,” he said.
However, he acknowledged the Supreme Court’s regulation that a case review appeal could only be filed once was problematic, especially since the Constitutional Court had ruled otherwise.
“This difference [between the two courts] is hampering efforts to find the truth,” Agus said.
Veloso had previously filed two case review appeals at the Supreme Court, but both were rejected.
“Everyone knows she had no intention [to bring the drugs]. She does not have to be free, we are just trying to find the lightest sentence we can get for her and avoid the death penalty,” Agus said.
Defying intense pressure from the international community, the government executed eight death row inmates early on Wednesday on Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java.
The eight were Indonesian Zainal Abidin, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, Nigerians Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudili Oyatanze and Ghanaian Martin Anderson.