“We also hope that Pacquiao’s visit will shed light on the slow pace of the human trafficking case against those who victimized Mary Jane.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao asked for continued prayers for Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina on death row in Indonesia, after he visited her in prison today, July 9.
“Praying with Mary Jane Veloso. Please keep her in your prayers,” Pacquiao said in an Instagram post, which showed him, his wife Jinkee and Mary Jane holding hands and their heads bowed.
His visit lasted for an hour, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Indonesian time. They were accompanied by at least 20 people, including Philippine embassy officials, Mary Jane’s Indonesian lawyers and Indonesian prosecutors staff, according to Mary Jane’s lawyer Edre Olalia.
As he walked out of the detention facility in Yogyakarta, Pacquiao wore a “craft,” a purple scarf made by Mary Jane.
Pacquiao also accepted a gift from Indonesian migrant groups who spearheaded the protest and mass actions in Indonesia at the height of the campaign to save Mary Jane.
“This is to express our heartful thanks for your support to #SaveMJCampaign. The struggle still continues and we hope for your continuous support,” the groups’ note read.
Mary Jane’s mother, Celia Veloso, was also heartened by Pacquiao’s visit.
“I am so happy, because Manny Pacquiao came through with his promise. I want to see him personally to thank him,” she said.
Pacquiao is former acting chairperson of the House committee on overseas Filipino affairs. While in training for his bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., he took time off to call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare Mary Jane from execution.
In a statement, Migrante International said the visit “reflects the just and growing global demand that Mary Jane be granted clemency and be brought home to her family in the Philippines.”
“We also hope that Pacquiao’s visit will shed light on the slow pace of the human trafficking case against those who victimized Mary Jane,” the group said, adding that people are “not stopping until we see Mary Jane reunited with her sons.”
Mary Jane’s execution was stayed at dawn of April 29 to give way to the court proceedings in the Philippines. She was sentenced to death five years ago for allegedly trying to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin in Indonesia.