PHL still hoping to Get Clemency for Mary Jane Veloso

The Philippine government is hoping to get clemency for convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso even as Indonesia declared that the legal actions taken by Manila against the Filipino’s recruiters will not prevent her execution.

A report by the Jakarta Post quoting Indonesia’s Attorney General’s Office said the death sentence on Veloso, 30, who was found guilty of smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin in 2010, will still be carried out.

“Any request to free Mary Jane would be difficult to realize as she has been proven to have smuggled heroin into the country,” Attorney General M. Prasetyo told the Jakarta Post.

However, Prasetyo hinted that if Philippine courts find Veloso’s alleged recruiter, Maria Kristina Sergio, guilty of human trafficking then the Filipino death convict could try to use the ruling as “new evidence to be considered in a case review or clemency appeal.”

“Please note that…in the news report, the AGO opened the possibility for Veloso to use the result of the case versus Sergio ‘as new evidence to be considered in a case review or clemency appeal.’ This is exactly what we’re hoping for,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told GMA News Online.


Veloso, a single mother of two, was among the nine foreign and local death row prisoners, who was scheduled to be executed by firing squad on April 29 for drug-related charges.

She was spared from death at the last minute when the Indonesian government ordered a stay in her execution following President Benigno S. Aquino III’s last minute appeal to counterpart Jokowi Widodo to turn her into a witness.

The Philippine government is hoping the Indonesian government would reconsider the death penalty on Veloso and commute her sentence to a lower sentence.

Veloso maintains her innocence, saying she was tricked by Sergio into bringing the tainted suitcase to Indonesia.

A Philippine delegation composed of officials from the Foreign Affairs and Justice departments met on Wednesday with their Indonesian counterparts from the AGO and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Jakarta.

“The meeting was aimed to clarify both procedures from both countries, update the Indonesian side on the case filed against Sergio and others in Nueva Ecija and consult on the way forward especially in the implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in this particular case,” Jose told a press briefing on Thursday afternoon.
The treaty signed by the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations, of which the Philippines and Indonesia are members, allows states to cooperate on combating trans-national crimes, like drug trafficking. It was invoked by the Philippines in a last ditch effort to save Veloso’s life.

Jose, meanwhile, said the Home Office in Manila is still waiting for a formal report from the delegation on the outcome of the meeting in Jakarta. —KBK, GMA News



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