Relatives of OFWs on death row march to Malacañang to seek help
Relatives of Filipinos on death row abroad trooped to Malacañang on Tuesday morning to ask the Duterte administration’s help in seeking executive clemency for their relatives.
The march came nearly two years after Mary Jane Veloso, a convicted drug courier, was given a reprieve by the Indonesian government.
Lao Castillo, project manager at Migrante International, said the march was a way to commemorate the second year anniversary of the reprieve. At the same it was a call to action on Veloso’s case and 80 others suffering the same plight.
With Castillo were Celia Veloso, Mary Jane’s mother, the and families of three other overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row.
Castillo and the families met with Secretary Abdulla Mamao, the presidential adviser for OFW affairs, for about two hours.
Castillo said, based on what they discussed, it seemed to him that the administration had yet to take concrete steps to address the issue. Castillo said, however, that he felt “happy” with the administration’s “honesty” and its willingnes to take actions to solve the problem.
He said they also used the meeting to inform Mamao of the actions taken by the Public Attorney’s Office and Court of Appeals that further delayed the prosecution of Veloso’s illegal recruiters.
According to Castillo, the judge handling Veloso’s case was supposed to fly to Indonesia for a deposition or to get Veloso’s side.
But Castillo said the public lawyers representing Veloso’s recruiters blocked it through a temporary restraining order, which the Court of Appeals granted about two weeks ago.
Castillo said it was bad enough that the prosecution of Veloso’s recruiters, which Philippine officials promised the Indonesian government in order to halt her execution, had been dragging on for years. But it was further detrimental to the case when “our own institutions” had been adding to the delay of the case.
Castillo said they had raised this issue to Mamao and was promised that the administration would look into it. /atm
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