Sergio, Lacanilao’s statements seen to boost Veloso’s chance to escape death
The statements of the alleged recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso that she had no knowledge that she was transporting heroin to Indonesia will boost her chance of permanently escaping her death sentence, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday.
“This is a good development and an indication that we are at the right direction, right track… If it will be proven in the ongoing investigation (that she is innocent), this will be a big thing for Mary Jane,” de Lima told reporters.
“This shows that it was just right to suspend the implementation of the death penalty so the truth would first come out,” she said.
She said they would immediately inform the Indonesian authorities about the affidavits of Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao “for their own appreciation.”
The Justice Chief said they are hoping to get more information from Sergio and Lacanilao during the course of the preliminary investigation.
Edre Olalia, Veloso’s lawyer from National Union of People’s Lawyers, agreed with de Lima’s opinion.
“It can be used as a basis by our Indonesian counterparts. In fact, they are actually waiting already for the translation from English to Bahasa so they will communicate immediately with the attorney general’s office about this statement,” he explained.
But he said they would file a reply to what he called as Sergio’s “self-serving version of the surrounding circumstances to cover her own complicity.”
“We will file reply-affidavits to reiterate the whole unembellished facts as they are. Additionally, we shall contest the inexplicable vilification she made against Mary Jane’s family,” he said in a statement.
Sergio, in her 31-page affidavit submitted to the DOJ last Wednesday, said Veloso fell prey to two “dark skinned, curly-haired men” she identified as Ike and John while they were in Malaysia in April 2010 to look for a job.
Sergio said she believes that Veloso was a victim who “was taken advantage of because she didn’t know any better, was in dire need of a job, and because of her tendency to trust people, even strangers.”
While saying Veloso was innocent, the alleged recruiters denied the charges against them. They said they only helped her in trying to find a job abroad. AC