Speed up cases to save Mary Jane Veloso, supporters cry
SUPPORTERS of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino woman on death row in Indonesia on drug charges, renewed calls on Saturday for the speedy resolution of the cases against her recruiters that would prove she was a victim of human trafficking.
Veloso was given temporary reprieve from execution by Indonesian authorities in April last year after her Filipino recruiter, Ma. Cristina Sergio, turned herself in to the National Bureau of Investigation.
“The outcome of the Philippine cases will weigh heavily on how the Indonesian government will decide Mary Jane’s fate,” read the unity statement by the Migrante party-list and the Church Task Force to #SaveMaryJane.
“We call on the Philippine courts to speed up the legal proceedings. We call on the accused to face the music and stop the delaying tactics. We call on the Philippine government to make good its commitment to combat trafficking by ensuring that Mary Jane’s traffickers are brought to justice,” it said.
Veloso’s mother, Celia Veloso, is afraid her daughter would be executed since she is still on death row.
“I do not want to die without seeing her back and reunited with her two sons,” said Celia, whose own parents passed away recently.
Sergio and her partner, Julius Lacanilao, are facing large-scale illegal recruitment and estafa charges that were filed in May 2015 based on an NBI complaint.
A separate complaint of qualified human trafficking was filed by the Department of Justice in July with the Velosos as complainants.
Migrante and the National Union of People’s Lawyers slammed the “delaying tactics” of the defense, which resulted in the accused being arraigned only last September and February for the respective cases.
“Because of their delaying tactics, Mary Jane remains on death row. We reiterate that the ball is now with the Philippine courts. Mary Jane’s life depends on Sergio’s and Lacanilao’s speedy trial and conviction,” said Garry Martinez of Migrante.
Veloso was convicted on drug trafficking charges but she maintained she was duped into carrying the luggage that contained heroin.
“Mary Jane’s case is a testament to how rampant trafficking and illegal recruitment are in the Philippines. Filipinos are being victimized by criminal syndicates due to their desperation, poverty and lack of opportunities,” said the unity statement, which will be included in the online petition for clemency.
The petition at change.org/savemaryjane currently has more than 440,000 supporters.