They refused to give up on Mary Jane

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People who held vigil at the Indonesian embassy for Mary Jane Veloso are just like her, hopeful to find better lives, and justice.


Just as the Philippine government thought it was the dead end for Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino people hoped against hope that she would be spared from execution, as they continued their vigil in front of the Indonesian embassy until dawn of April 29.

Mylene Catherine Villatema, 28, of Bagong Silang, Caloocan said she could relate to Mary Jane because she had also worked abroad to help her family, but ended up abused by her employer and neglected by her recruitment agency.

“She’s innocent, that’s why I believe that God will listen to our prayers to save Mary Jane from execution,” Villatema said.

Rodolfo Malino Jr., whose wife Rochelle Masubay mysteriously died in Saudi Arabia, also joined the calls on the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to save Mary Jane.

“No matter what happens to Mary Jane, we’ll be here in front of the Indonesian embassy to fight for her,” Malino said.

Abner, 53, of Caloocan who owns a line of tricycles, refused to believe that Mary Jane will be subjected to a gruesome death, when all she wanted was to give her children a bright future.

“It is frightening to be in Mary Jane’s shoes right now. That’s why we’re here for her, to show her that her compatriots will not give up until the very end,” he said.

The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) rallied support from the urban poor community nationwide for the call to save Mary Jane. Kadamay said that if the whole nation shows their unwavering support for her, she might still be saved from death row, such as in the case of OFWs Dondon Lanuza, Marilou Ranario and Cecilia Alcaraz.

Erlinda Dela Cruz, 62 of Caloocan said she was disappointed on how the government handled the case.

“If they’re really concerned about the welfare of Mary Jane, they should’ve acted from the very beginning, they wouldn’t let this situation reach this point,” she said.

Their persistence bore fruit as Mary Jane Veloso was granted a stay in execution at the last minute. By 3 a.m. Of April 29, those holding vigil were rejoicing upon hearing the news of Mary Jane’s reprieve. The hashtag #SaveMaryJane was replaced by #MaryJaneLives.

However, Migrante said, the fight to save Mary Jane is far from over as what was granted is only a reprieve, and the Aquino government should still be held accountable for its criminal neglect of the case of Mary Jane, as well as that of other distressed OFWs and its labor export policy. (

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