Malacañang is not sure of what Philippine President Rodrigo can do in the case of convicted overseas Filipina worker Mary Jane Veloso, who remains incarcerated on Indonesia’s death row.
In a press briefing on Thursday, January 11, Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said that Veloso’s case completely lies in the hands of the Indonesian government, noting that the Filipina was “detained in foreign soil because of breach of Indonesian laws.”
“I don’t understand what exactly the president can do in this regard,” Roque said.
Veloso was charged with drug trafficking in April 2010. Her camp argues that she was falsely promised a job to be a maid in Malaysia and instead was lured to be a drug mule without her knowledge.
She was on the execution list but was given a last-minute reprieve on April 29, 2015, after Manila told Jakarta that her one of her alleged recruiters, Maria Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, had been arrested in the Philippines.
Roque also added that the Indonesian government is showing “clemency on daily basis” by “not carrying out the punishment of death penalty.”
“She continues to be alive despite being meted the death penalty but there is such a thing as sovereignty, and the matter is completely in the hands of the Indonesian government, although, the Indonesian government, by not carrying out the punishment of death penalty, had shown clemency, on a daily basis,” the Palace official said.
Earlier on Wednesday, January 10, Veloso, in a recorded message, appealed to Duterte to allow her to testify against Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, who supposedly tricked her into transporting illegal drugs.
“President Duterte, just like the case I am facing now, if you will not give me a chance to testify to reveal the truth in this case, how then will you be able to know that I am only a victim and the one who violated the law was Cristina Sergio?” Veloso said.
Last week, the Philippine Court of Appeals (CA) denied Veloso’s appeals to stand witness against her recruiters.
The CA reversed the earlier decision of the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) in taking Veloso’s testimony in Indonesia, saying that allowing it is a “violative of their right to confront the witnesses or to meet them face to face guaranteed under Section 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution.