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Spare filipina, Widodo urged

  • Written by Cristina Lee-Pisco
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 2173

VICE President Jejomar C. Binay yesterday renewed his appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for the commutation of the death sentence of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was convicted for carrying a suitcase containing illegal drugs in Indonesia.
    
“I am once again appealing to President Widodo’s good heart for the commutation of the death sentence of our kababayan, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who is scheduled be executed in Yogyakarta,” he said.
    
“I ask this, with the deepest bond of brotherhood and friendship of our peoples, a bond that I am confident will only grow stronger in the years to come,” he added.
    
Binay, the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, issued the appeal after the Indonesian Supreme Court denied Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso’s plea for a judicial review of her case.
    
“We are saddened that the Indonesian Supreme Court has chosen not to grant Mary Jane’s lawyers’ request for a judicial review of her case. Nonetheless, we reiterate the Philippines’ full awareness and respect for Indonesia’s laws and legal system,” the Vice President said.
    
In their appeal for judicial review, Veloso’s lawyers argued that the Filipina was not provided with a capable translator during her trial.
    
Binay stressed that Veloso, a widowed mother of two, was not part of any organized drug syndicate, saying she, too, was a victim.
    
“She was unwittingly taken advantage of by a person to whom she gave her complete trust and confidence when the latter asked her to hand carry a piece of luggage containing illegal drugs,” Binay said.
    
The Vice President wrote Widodo earlier this month to “convey to (Widodo) the (Filipinos’) hope and prayer that the Supreme Court of Indonesia will look kindly and with compassion on the circumstances surrounding the case of (Veloso).”
    
Veloso was caught at Java’s Yogyakarta airport carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin on a flight from Malaysia.
    
The United Nations human rights office previously called on Indonesia to refrain from executing convicted drug smugglers, saying the death penalty won’t stop the trafficking of illegal drugs.
 
Jakarta plans to execute all 10 of the convicts — including Veloso — at the same time, but said it will wait for any outstanding legal appeals to conclude.
    
The cases of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, leaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug syndicate, are currently on appeal.      

Palace hopeful
   
Malacañang is still hopeful that Filipino death convict Mary Jane Veloso will still be saved.
   
“Government continues to exert all efforts to support May Jane Veloso.  According to DFA spokesperson Charles Jose, our initiual appeal for judicial review was denied.  Nonetheless we will continue to exhaust all possible legal means to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso,” presidential communications secretary Sonny Coloma Jr., said.
   
Asked about the country’s next move after Indonesia’s rejection of the judicial review, Jose said they are “looking at [the] possibility of [a] second appeal for judicial review.”
   
“We are in consultation with our lawyer,” he said in a separate text message.         With EMontano