“There is relief that we were able to finally see her arrested.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso had been arrested and subjected to inquest at 6:30 p.m., May 5.
The Veloso family positively identified Maria Kristina Sergio, also known as “Tintin,” and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao as soon as they entered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office. The two suspects were immediately handcuffed, and brought to detention at the NBI.
“There is relief that we were able to finally see her arrested. She did not even look at us, but she was smiling,” Cesar, Mary Jane’s father told Bulatlat.com.
Sergio and Lacanilao have been under government protective custody since April 28. If not charged within 36 hours, the law provides that suspects should be released from detention.
On April 16 and 17, the Veloso family, through the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, submitted two batches of letter-complaints to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (Iacat) of the Department of Justice, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the NBI, asking them to investigate Sergio for human and drug trafficking and illegal recruitment.
The NBI said in a news report that at least 10 more people have filed complaints against Sergio. One of the complainants was the relative of a victim who was arrested in Hong Kong with heroin hidden in her bag. Just like Mary Jane, the victim was offered a job as a domestic helper in Thailand but was told to go to Hongkong using the recruiter’s bag.
In 2010 and 2012, the Veloso family has repeatedly asked the NBI and the PDEA to investigate Mary Jane’s recruiter. The agencies told them that there was no sufficient evidence against Sergio and that she must be caught red-handed, or in actual possession of illegal drugs.
In the morning of April 28, the day of Mary Jane’s scheduled execution, Sergio and Lacanilao went to the Nueva Ecija police in Cabanatuan City and asked for protection, citing threats to their lives. Their surfacing served as one of the factors in the last-minute reprieve for Mary Jane at dawn of April 29.
Indonesian authorities said the stay in execution was meant to give way to legal proceedings in the Philippines.