Timeline: The case of Mary Jane Veloso
Long before the story of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso made headlines around the world, the Filipino maid’s struggle for freedom already begun five long years ago.
Veloso was apprehended at Audisucipto International Airport in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, on April 25, 2010, for possession of heroin weighing 2.6 kilograms. She was sentenced to death just six months after her arrest.
Two Indonesian presidents, two appeals, three clemency letters from President Benigno Aquino III and a powerful #SaveMaryJane online campaign later, Veloso was granted a reprieve at the 11th hour on April 29, five years after her ordeal began.
INQUIRER.net lists in detail Veloso’s five-year ordeal, as told by National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. SP
January – Mary Jane returns to the Philippines after working for 10 months as a domestic worker in Dubai. She returns to Manila without finishing her two-year contract because her employer attempted to rape her.
April 18 – Mary Jane is approached by her friend Ma. Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, a resident of Talavera town, and was promised a job as a domestic worker in Malaysia. She is illegally recruited.
April 22 – Mary Jane and Tintin leave for Malaysia. When they arrive in Malaysia, Tintin tells her that the supposed job is no longer available but that she can still find work elsewhere. They stay there for a few days before Tintin sends her to Indonesia, allegedly for a seven-day holiday, after which she would go back to Malaysia for employment.
April 25 – Mary Jane is apprehended by customs and excise authorities at Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, upon arrival due to alleged possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin.
April 27 – Mary Jane’s parents receive a call from her in-laws informing them that Mary Jane arrived safely in Malaysia. They visit Tintin in Talavera and she tells them that Mary Jane’s employer is “very kind.” Tintin also gives them clothes and milk, supposedly bought by Mary Jane for her youngest son, Mark Darren.
May 9 – Mary Jane calls her family to wish her father a happy birthday.
May 11 – Mary Jane’s sister, Darling, receives a cryptic text message from her telling her to take care of her children.
May 12 – Darling receives another cryptic message from Mary Jane, prompting the family to call her. Mary Jane then tells them that she is in jail. A few hours after, they call her again and she tells them about the events that transpired before she was apprehended in Indonesia.
May 13 – Mary Jane’s family goes to Tintin’s house in Talavera. Tintin tells them to “keep silent, don’t tell anyone and don’t approach the media.” Tintin also allegedly tells them that should they fail to keep quiet, Mary Jane and the rest of the family will be in grave danger because “she (Tintin) belongs to an international drug syndicate.” Tintin also allegedly tells them that the syndicate will spend millions to get Mary Jane out of jail.
August – Mary Jane’s family decides to go to Manila despite Tintin’s warning to ask for help from some media outfits. They also go to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to report Mary Jane’s case. They meet case officer Patricia Mocom, who promises to assist them and help Mary Jane. Since then, the family religiously goes back to DFA Manila to request for updates on Mary Jane’s case. They also seek the help of their mayor and governor, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation, police and authorities in Cabanatuan City. They are told by the NBI that they cannot file any complaints against Tintin due to lack of evidence.
Oct. 4 – Indonesian public prosecutor Sri Anggraeni presents in the Sleman district court the recommendation for life imprisonment as penalty for Mary Jane’s offense. Mary Jane is represented by court-appointed pro bono lawyer Edy Haryanto.
Oct. 11 – The district court of justice of Sleman in Yogyakarta sentences Mary Jane with the death penalty.
Oct. 22 – The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta reportedly files an appeal with the appeals court of Yogyakarta.
Oct. 25 – Mary Jane’s family receives a call from her to wish her son a happy birthday. Since then, they are able to communicate with Mary Jane regularly via phone. They tell Mary Jane to write an affidavit and send it via mail, detailing the events that led to her arrest, to be used for the complaint they want to file in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against Tintin.
Oct. 27 – The Philippine Embassy recommends the hiring of a private lawyer for Mary Jane for the appeal stage, prompting the Office of the Undersecretary of Migrant Workers’ Affairs to authorize the disbursement of $5,000 from the legal assistance fund to hire the services of Rudyantho & Partners Law Office.
November – The family receives a post mail from Mary Jane containing photos but no affidavit. They call Mary Jane, who is in turn surprised that her affidavit did not reach the family. She says she will send them her affidavit again soon.
December – The family receives another post mail from Mary Jane, again containing photos and a bandanna from a priest, but still no affidavit. They immediately report this to Mary Jane, who confirms that she sent her affidavit along with the rest of the mail’s contents.
The family reports the missing contents of Mary Jane’s mail to Joseph Ladip of the PDEA.
Feb. 10 – The court of appeals of Yogyakarta upholds Mary Jane’s death penalty sentence.
Feb. 21 – Embassy-hired lawyer Rudyantho files a memorandum of appeal in the Supreme Court of Indonesia on behalf of Mary Jane.
Feb. 22 – The Philippine Embassy reportedly appeals the case in the Supreme Court in Jakarta.
May 31 – The Supreme Court upholds Mary Jane’s death penalty.
Aug. 23 – President Aquino intervenes a year after Veloso has already been sentenced to death, through a request for clemency with then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, who imposes a moratorium on executions during his term.
Oct. 10 – Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Rosario Aguinaldo forwards Aquino’s letter of clemency to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Oct. 11 – The Veloso family receives a hysterical call from Mary Jane. She begs them to help her because her sentence has been upheld in all courts. She tells them that she is to be executed in a week’s time. On the same day, the family rushes to the DFA. They are able to talk to Patricia, who tells them that the news is false and that the DFA has not received any news or reports from Indonesia. The family also goes to the PDEA in another attempt to file a case against Tintin. They are told that they cannot file due to lack of evidence.
Oct. 12 – The family calls Mary Jane to tell her about what Patricia said. She tearfully asserts that what she told them is true and it is already all over the news. They call Patricia but she again denies Mary Jane’s claims. A few minutes later, Patricia calls them back and tells them that the news is indeed true.
April – Mary Jane calls her parents and tells them to apply for passports because her police friends, Puri and Buta, and her fellow inmates have agreed to sponsor their visit to her in jail.
June 5 – Mary Jane’s parents and eldest son Mark Danielle leave for Indonesia. They stay there for almost a month and are able to visit Mary Jane daily during the duration of their stay.
June 29 – The family arrives back in Manila.
July – Mary Jane sends her sister, Maritess, her handwritten affidavit via courier LBC.
Dec. 30 – Indonesian President Joko Widodo issues Presidential Decision No. 31/G–2014 rejecting the request for clemency on behalf of Mary Jane.
January – The family receives a call from Mary Jane. She tells them to seek assistance from anyone willing to help because she is scheduled for execution soon. Maritess calls the DFA and is informed that Patricia has been replaced by Violet Ancheta as case officer for Mary Jane’s case. Violet tells them the news is false.
Jan. 19 – Lawyer Rudyantho files the application for judicial review of Mary Jane’s case in the district court of justice of Sleman, Yogjakarta.
Jan. 28 – Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario hands a letter to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retnu L.P. Marsudi at the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Foreign Ministers Retreat in Kota Kinabalu, requesting Indonesian authorities to give due course to the application for judicial review of Mary Jane’s case.
Feb. 4 – Marsudi replies to Del Rosario, ensuring that all available legal measures have been undertaken in accordance with Indonesian laws.
Feb. 9 – President Aquino reportedly appeals Mary Jane’s case to Indonesian President Widodo during the latter’s state visit to the Philippines.
Feb. 16 – The DFA forwards to the Indonesian Embassy in Manila a copy of President Aquino’s letter to Widodo on the petition for judicial review of Mary Jane’s case. The DFA also forwards said letter to the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta.
Feb. 18 – Mary Jane’s parents, her sister Maritess and her two sons are able to visit Mary Jane in Indonesia through the DFA. They are accompanied by Violet.
Feb. 22 —The family returns to the Philippines. Before they return, Chito Mendoza of the Philippine Embassy asks for Mary Jane’s handwritten affidavit from Maritess.
March 3 – The Sleman district court holds the first hearing, where the defense informs the court of the reasons for the application of judicial review relating to the lapses in the proceedings at the trial court in 2010: 1) the problem in translations, 2) the qualifications of the court-appointed translators and 3) the language barrier.
March 4 – The lower court hands down its decision ordering the endorsement of the case files to the Supreme Court in Jakarta to proceed with the judicial review. This initial stage of the judicial review is for the trial court to determine if there is merit for the review of the case by the Indonesian Supreme Court.
March 25 – The Indonesian Supreme Court rejects the petition for judicial review.
April 21 – After news of Mary Jane’s impending execution spreads like wildfire on social media, Malacañang reiterates the Philippines is not giving up on Mary Jane.
April 22 – President Aquino writes his third letter to Indonesian President Widodo requesting for clemency while Vice President Jejomar Binay flies to Indonesia to appeal Mary Jane’s case.
April 25 – Mary Jane is moved from the prison facility in Yogyakarta to the last-mile island of Nusakambangan off Central Java for the scheduled execution.
April 27 – A petition by Change.org to save Mary Jane circulates online.
April 28 – Tintin and another recruiter surrender themselves to police, citing death threats via text message and online as the reason for seeking protection.
April 29 – Mary Jane is granted a last-minute reprieve from the firing squad around 1 a.m. She is now a witness in the DFA’s case against the West African Drug Syndicate.
Source: National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, INQUIRER.net archives
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.