Don’t give up on Mary Jane, Duterte admin urged
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged the administration to defend Mary Jane Veloso’s “right to life” and to not give up on her.
“I urge the Duterte administration to defend Mary Jane’s right to life. The government must continue to pursue all effective channels to make the reprieve granted by President Widodo to Mary Jane permanent,” Hontiveros said in statement.
The senator was referring to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who was quoted as saying that President Rodrigo Duterte had given the green light for Indonesia to proceed with the execution of Veloso.
“Let us remember that there are more women that could suffer the same fate. It is the government’s duty to prevent this from becoming the ‘new normal,’” she said.
While Malacañang has denied that Duterte gave such statements, Hontiveros said an “urgent clarification” was in order “especially as President Widodo is under the impression that President Duterte gave his approval for Mary Jane’s execution.”
“With all due respect to Indonesia’s sovereignty, I join the appeal to save Mary Jane’s life. Saving the life of Mary Jane is the right thing to do for both the Philippine and Indonesian governments,” she said.
“If we are to succeed in our campaign against illegal drug trafficking, law enforcement efforts must be complemented by a strong recognition of the vulnerabilities of poor women across the region and the urgent need to protect them.”
Hontiveros said the government should not give up on Veloso, saying she was just a victim, and not a perpetrator, of illegal drug trafficking.
“She went to Indonesia as a migrant worker, and just like many Filipinos, she hoped that working abroad will improve the life of her family here in the Philippines. Unfortunately, she was set up by an international drug syndicate to carry drugs into Indonesia,” she said.
“Promising them jobs abroad, many poor women are tricked into becoming drug mules. It has been said that women bear the brunt of all wars. The war on drugs is no exception,” the senator added.
Veloso was sentenced to death for allegedly smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin in April 2010 in Indonesia./rga
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