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20th of October 2018

International



Has Mary Jane Veloso been forsaken by PH gov’t?

WAITING TO BE HEARD Mary Jane Veloso’s parents, Cesar and Cecilia, are seeking to meet with President Duterte. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

After four failed attempts to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang and the supposed lack of attention from officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the family of death row convict Mary Jane Veloso feel they have been forsaken by the Philippine government in their crusade.

Mary Jane’s father Cesar reiterated the family’s appeal to the President on Monday to make good his promise to help her escape death row in Indonesia, following her 2010 conviction for smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin.

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“With those previous missed visits, and the fact that the DFA has not communicated with us for so long, we fear that the government has abandoned our case,” Cesar said.

He made the statement on Monday during a send off gathering in Quezon City. The elder Veloso and Mary Jane’s two sons, Daniel and Darren, are set to fly to Jakarta to visit the jailed housemaid on Sept. 14 and 15.

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Written deposition

With their visit, the family seeks to reiterate their call for Mary Jane to be allowed to testify through a written deposition against her employers, who she accused of human trafficking and of tricking her into transporting the contraband.

The execution of the single mother of two was stayed after the Philippine government notified Indonesia that Veloso needed to give her testimony in the human trafficking case.

Last week, Mary Jane, through her counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, appealed to the Supreme Court the ruling by the Court of Appeals denying her plea to be allowed to make a testimony from her prison cell.

“We just wish to remind President Duterte about his promise to help Mary Jane after he won in the elections. It’s been two years now; we do not feel that promise anymore,” her father said.

Not losing hope

But even with the bleak signals, the Veloso family is not losing hope, according to Cesar.

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“Our faith in a Divine miracle, and the support shown by many Filipinos, are keeping us and Mary Jane strong,” he said, citing the generosity of many donors who helped defray the costs of their trip to Jakarta on Tuesday.

The family also bought five bottles of Mary Jane’s “pasalubong” (present) request: a Philippine-made cheese spread.

“She is in high spirits. In fact, she is the one who keeps reminding those of us here in the Philippines to keep our faith in God strong and to never lose hope,” he said of Mary Jane.

Arman Hernando, Migrante International spokesperson, said the Duterte administration should highlight Mary Jane’s case if it was really serious in combating drug trafficking.

“This is our chance to point out that victims like Mary Jane deserves support from the government and must not be treated as a criminal,” he said.

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