“The clock is ticking. We have 72 hours to save Mary Jane’s life. The Filipino people are behind Mary Jane and her family. We are not giving up.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Migrant rights advocates began their vigil today, April 26, in front of the Indonesian embassy as the execution of Mary Jane Veloso looms.
“The clock is ticking. We have 72 hours to save Mary Jane’s life. The Filipino people are behind Mary Jane and her family. We are not giving up,” Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, said.
Activists lit candles in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City. At around 8:30 p.m., the police asked them to leave, saying that they do not have permit to rally. Protesters insisted that they will stay.
Mary Jane is scheduled for execution on the 28th, “at the earliest,” according to her Filipino private lawyers.
Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and head of the six-member team of Filipino private lawyers of the Veloso family, said they refer to the execution as “earliest” because “we are not giving up.”
He said that in coordination with Mary Jane’s Indonesian lawyers, they are “intensifying all efforts pending the second judicial review that was filed last Friday.”
Migrante said they are tired of hearing the same excuse from the government — “we are doing our best.”
In a statement, Martinez reiterated their earlier demands to President Aquino to speak up on Mary Jane’s case, pull out the Philippine embassy officials in Jakarta, suspend approval of applications of Indonesian investments and release all the names of Filipinos languishing in jails or on death row and their respective Philippine embassy-retained lawyers.
“Aquino needs to speak up and declare his protest. It is not enough to send his men (alipores). Just like the case of the Mamasapano fiasco, he has command responsibility over Mary Jane’s fate,” he said.
This opportunity, Martinez said, could be during the 26th Asean summit from April 26 to 28.
“At this point, Mary Jane’s family and Filipinos around the world need to hear from him personally and publicly that he is against the execution because it will take the life of an innocent Filipino,” he said, adding that the public wants Aquino to say that the planned execution of Mary Jane is an attack against Filipinos all over the world.
Filipinos are urged to participate in a nationwide candle lighting tomorrow, April 27, at 6 p.m.
Mary Jane was arrested in 2010 in Indonesia, duped by her godsister into carrying a luggage, where a 2.6-kilogram of heroin was secretly stitched inside. She was sentenced to die by the Sleman District Court six months after her arrest.