“We are very concerned to have a speedy trial and a speedy process.”
By BETTINA CATLI and CHRISTINE ANNE T. CABANATAN
MANILA – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima promised that all hands are on deck to push the case of Mary Jane Veloso, after the Justice Department filed charges of illegal recruitment, estafa and human trafficking against Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
In a dialogue with members of the Save Mary Jane Alliance and Mary Jane’s mother Celia Veloso on July 10, De Lima gave an assurance that the government is having talks with the Indonesian government concerning the progress of Mary Jane’s case.
“We are very concerned to have a speedy trial and a speedy process,” said Rebecca Lawson, a mission co-worker of the United Methodist Church of the Philippines, and a member of Save Mary Jane Alliance, during the dialogue.
“The delay will not come from the prosecution,” de Lima assured the group, but she emphasized that the prosecution will not be able to control the duration of the trials.
Nardy Sabino, secretary general of the Promotion of Church People’s Response, noted that the government will be busy by October, being the deadline for candidacy filing and practically the start of the election period.
“Hopefully, the case will push through before October because this will really help and will speed up the case, and save Mary Jane from death row,” Sabino said.
De Lima said that there is a pending request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) with the Indonesian government to gain access to Mary Jane for a “supplemental affidavit, or sworn statement that is more exhaustive” to add to her earlier testimony, and will help move her case.
“We have several requests to Indonesia and Malaysia in the MLA,” she said, “Our target is to convince the Indonesian government not to push through with the execution.”
The Indonesian government is requesting for regular updates about the case.
“Here, we continue to hear that it seems the Indonesian government is not really getting full updates, or more updates, about what’s happening with Mary Jane,” Lawson said.
De Lima said there is already a draft communication addressed to the Indonesian attorney general and minister of law and human rights. She stressed the need to tread carefully in addressing the Indonesian government.
“We do not want to offend them by pressuring them because that would be counterproductive.”
Celia Veloso said she was happy with what happened during the dialogue. “There is hope that my daughter will come home.”
“We are hoping that they will fulfill all that was discussed today especially about the issue of transparency, how they are handling the case against Sergio and Lacanilao and how this serves as the way to free Mary Jane,” Sol Pillas secretary general of Migrante International told Bulatlat.com.