January 16, 2016 8:49 AM
MANILA, Philippines — The parents and children of Mary Jane Veloso have returned to the country after joining her in jail in Indonesia to celebrate her 31st birthday Wednesday.
Mary Jane, who had been convicted of drug trafficking, had been scheduled for execution in April last year but was granted a last-minute reprieve following an international campaign to spare her life and the surrender of the Filipino couple who allegedly duped here into becoming a drug mule with the promise of employment abroad.
Mary Jane’s mother, Celia, described their reunion as “happy” and said sons Mark Daniel and Mark Darren sang her songs. The Velosos were also granted a day to bond with each other inside the jail in Wirongunan, Jogjakarta.
The family was accompanied by Mary Jane’s private counsel Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine embassy in Jakarta.
According to Migrante International, which has been supporting Mary Jane, an Indonesian prosecutor, jail guards and Mary Jane’s spiritual adviser also joined the simple birthday celebration of fast food and cake.
The family said Mary Jane had become “more prayerful” since being granted her reprieve.
But her father, Cesar, said instead of anticipation, it was fear they felt before flying to Indonesia on January 11 following news reports, now confirmed to have been based on false information, that Mary Jane’s name had been restored to a list of convicts to be executed.
Olalia said they decided not to tell Mary Jane of the false reports so she would not needlessly worry.
The lawyer also said Mary Jane’s reprieve would remain through the trial of her recruiters, adding that they would also continue efforts to prove her innocent in Indonesia.