“In accordance with international and parallel local laws, (Veloso) must not be penalized for any alleged crime which was integral and in connection with such human trafficking scheme, and must instead be repatriated back to the Philippines.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The Indonesian lawyers of Mary Jane Veloso is set to file the second petition for judicial review on Monday, April 27.
Edre Olalia, head of the Philippine private lawyers of the Veloso family, said the “newly-discovered evidence” will include Veloso’s sworn statement, where she stated that she is a victim of drug trafficking.
The said affidavit, which is currently being translated to Bahasa Indonesia, was executed during the Mar. 29 visit of officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Veloso has maintained that the bag, where the 2.6 kilograms of heroin was stitched in, was lent to her by her recruiter. She said in her account, furnished to Bulatlat.com by her lawyers, that Veloso repeatedly checked the bag and found nothing. She also asked her recruiter, her godsister Ma. Kristina Sergio, why the bag was unusually heavy but was told that it is because the bag was brand new.
Olalia, who is also secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, said the Indonesian lawyers are also “receptive” on grounds that Veloso is, primarily, a victim of human trafficking.
“In accordance with international and parallel local laws, (Veloso) must not be penalized for any alleged crime which was integral and in connection with such human trafficking scheme, and must instead be repatriated back to the Philippines,” Olalia said in a statement.
Veloso was recruited upon the premise that she would work as a domestic helper in Malaysia. Upon arriving there, however, she was told that her employer has already hired someone else and that another job was waiting for her in Indonesia.
For the said second ground, the lawyers need a certificate from the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking that it received their letter-complaint on the human trafficking issue, which the Veloso family, through the NUPL, filed last Apr. 16.
The filing of the second petition for second judicial review, however, does not translate to a stay or stop of the execution. He said the execution may push through as long as the mandatory three-day notice to Veloso, her family, the prosecutors and the court is complied with unless a positive judicial decision is handed to the Filipina on death row in time, Olalia stressed.
This, he added, could be between this Sunday, Apr. 26, or as long as six months after the submission of the petition for review as carrying out of death sentence is a “political decision and not a judicial act.”
The temporary reprieve for Veloso’s execution would end tomorrow, Apr. 24.
Veloso’s Indonesian lawyers, during their first petition for judicial review, cited the issue of the translator not being duly-accredited, but was denied by its Supreme Court last March.
Olalia, along with colleague Minerva Lopez, met with the Philippine embassy-retained Indonesian lawyers yesterday, Apr. 22, after Veloso’s sister Maritess and Migrante Sectoral Party chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado arranged the said meeting. In an earlier interview, the lawyer said they have requested, among other things, the Department of Foreign Affairs to link them with the Indonesian lawyers so they could collaborate with them in a bid to save Veloso from execution.
The DFA, however, did not budge on the said request, forcing the lawyers, along with Veloso’s father, to leave for Jakarta to meet the Indonesian lawyers.