Duterte last person to have mercy on Veloso—Lagman
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is the last person to have the moral ground in appealing for mercy for Filipina convicted drug courier Mary Jane Veloso, who is on temporary reprieve from death row in Indonesia.
In a press briefing at the House of Representatives, Lagman cited the irony in Duterte telling Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo that he would respect the judicial process in Indonesia, when Duterte could not even respect due process in his own country amid his administration’s war on drugs.
Lagman said Duterte is the last person to ask for mercy for Veloso given his harsh stance against suspected drug traffickers and couriers.
“If the President honors the judicial process in Indonesia, why is he disregarding the judicial processes in the Philippines, when drug suspects are killed extrajudicially, and they are considered as ‘criminals’ who are not entitled to due process?” Lagman said.
“President Duterte is the last person in the world to ask for mercy for Mary Jane Veloso in the drug case, because he believes the drug traffickers and users should be condemned to death or killed,” he added.
Lagman clarified too that there is no conflict between Duterte’s statement that he would respect the process in Indonesia pertaining to Veloso and Widodo’s statement that Duterte had given the go-signal for Veloso’s execution.
Duterte received flak on social media after he was quoted by Widodo in Jakarta Post that Duterte had given the go-signal for Veloso’s execution.
“Sabi dun sa Indonesia (As [the media in] Indonesia said), President Duterte said ‘Go head if you want to execute her.’ Sabi naman ng Malacañang (The Malacañang, on the other hand, said), Duterte told Widodo to ‘follow your own law and I will not interfere.’ Hindi ba pareho ito (Isn’t it the same)?” Lagman said.
“If you look at the bottomline, there is no difference between Indonesia and the President’s (statement). The bottomline is, according to our President, let the judicial processes proceed, and he will not interfere or intervene to ask for mercy,” he added.
Veloso was sentenced to death by firing squad after she was convicted of smuggling heroin in Indonesia. The execution was stopped at the last minute last year after information floated that she was duped by her alleged recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio, who surrendered to police in Nueva Ecija. RAM/rga
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