Veloso’s recruiters asked to comment on trial questions
MANILA, Philippines — A Nueva Ecija court has ordered the camp of the accused recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso to comment on the proposed questions of the prosecution for Veloso’s testimony.
The recruiters were given “an inextendible period” of five days from their receipt of the order dated Oct. 16 to abide by commenting on the proposed direct examination questions of the prosecution.
The order was released by the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 and was signed by Presiding Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes.
“Failure to submit the said comment shall be construed by the Court as a non-objection to the proposed direct examination questions of the Prosecution,” the order reads.
“The Defense Counsel is further directed to personally serve a copy of the said comment to the State Prosecutor and to personally file the same to this Court on or before October 22, 2019,” it added.
Veloso is still detained in Indonesia and is facing the death penalty following her arrest in 2010 at Yokyakarta airport for bringing in more than 2 kilograms of heroin.
Sergio and Lacanilao, meanwhile, are facing charges and are being tried for qualified human trafficking, estafa and simple illegal recruitment before the Nueva Ecija court.
The two allegedly duped Veloso by using her a drug mule and heroin smuggler, without Veloso’s knowledge.
But the Supreme Court recently allowed her to take her testimony in Indonesia against her alleged recruiters.
The camp of the recruiters argued that the order “directing the defense to submit comments to the proposed questions on written interrogatories is premature, if not inordinate.”
The defense said that the Supreme Court decision “has not yet attained finality,” arguing that they received a copy of the high court decision on Oct. 16. That giving them 15 days, or until Oct. 31, to avail of any remedies available to them under the Rules of Court, which includes the filing of motion for reconsideration.
“It is therefore surprising that the [Nueva Ecija] court, without any triggering action from the Prosecution, would issue an order motu propio directing the defuse to submit its comment to the aforesaid questions on written interrogatories, when the Supreme Court decision has not yet attained finality, nor did it contain any directive that the said Decision was immediately executory and unappealable,” Sergio and Lacanilao’s camp argued.
“The defense therefore is not yet ready to submit its comment to the proposed questions on deposition of witness Mary Jane Veloso, considering that the defense should be given the full opportunity to avail of remedies under the Rules of Court in order to protect the Constitutional rights of the accused,” the defense added.
Submission of such comment on the proposed questions without filing any available remedy to the accused would be “utter recklessness” as it would only result in denial of due process or mistrial, the defense added.
Thus, the defense sought the deferral of the order to comment on the proposed questions.
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