De Lima says Duterte admin must now block Veloso execution
MANILA, Philippines — After the Supreme Court allowed death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso to testify against her recruiters, the Duterte administration should now be put to task to prevent her execution in Indonesia.
Senator Leila de Lima said this on Wednesday as she welcomed the decision of the High Court allowing Veloso to testify against her recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao through a written deposition.
Sergo and Lacanilao are being tried for qualified human trafficking, estafa and simple illegal recruitment before the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court for allegedly tricking Veloso into going abroad and using her as a drug mule to smuggle heroin into Indonesia.
“I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Mary Jane Veloso to testify by way of deposition against her illegal recruiters, who used her as a drug mule in Indonesia,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame.
“With this crucial decision of the Supreme Court, President Duterte – who has not lifted a finger to save her life despite the obvious victim status of Mary Jane – should now be put to task to prevent the execution of Mary Jane,” she added.
De Lima, a former Secretary of Justice, added that allowing Veloso to testify in the case against her recruiters would not only help prove her innocence in court but could also strengthen the country’s fight against human trafficking.
The senator added that allowing Veloso to tell her side of the story would not only be crucial in the prosecution of her recuiters, but also “sets a precedent in the overall fight against human trafficking and other crimes of similar nature.”
De Lima then expressed hope that the prosecution of Veloso’s recruiters before the local courts would pave the way for another review of her case in Indonesia.
During De Lima’s term as Secretary of Justice, Veloso was supposed to be executed in April 2015 but was granted a last-minute reprieve.
Veloso is currently detained in Indonesia and is still facing the death penalty after she was arrested at Yokyakarta airport for bringing in more than 2 kilograms of heroin in 2010.
Veloso, however, denied knowledge of the drugs she was carrying and insisted that the luggage she was carrying was given to her by her recruiters.
“Nawa’y gumulong na ang hustisya para kay Mary Jane nang makasama na niya ang kanyang pamilya at mga mahal sa buhay,” De Lima went on. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.