“Migrante continues to call for vigilance and sustained support for Mary Jane, in light of the slow course of justice.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The supporters of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina on death row in Indonesia, calls on the public to support efforts to #FreeMaryJane, as they lament the slow court proceedings on her case, which they attribute to “dilatory legal acrobatics” from Mary Jane’s recruiters.
Recently, the Court of Appeals denied the petition for a temporary restraining order on the court proceedings against Mary Jane’s recruiters, Maria Kristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. In their petition before the Court of Appeals, the two accused said their constitutional rights were violated when they were arrested without a warrant. They also argued that the finding of probable cause against them was procedurally infirm.
In its decision dated Dec. 18, 2015, the Court of Appeals 17th Special Division said that for a temporary restraining order to be issued, the petitioner has to show that there is serious and irreparable damage that would be accorded to them, and not a “mere possibility.”
“We find that petitioners failed to discharge this burden. There is no clear showing that petitioners have sufficiently alleged a clear and unmistakable right and that there is an extremely urgent and paramount necessity for the issuance of a TRO,” the decision penned by Associate Justices Ramon Cruz, Manuel Barrios and Henri Jean Paul Inting read.
Mary Jane’s execution in Indonesia was stayed at the eleventh hour on April 29, 2015. She has repeatedly asserted that she was only deceived to carry the 2.6 kilograms of heroin and that she was victimized by Sergio.
Sergio and Lacanilao are facing two sets of charges: the first complaint, large-scale, syndicated illegal recruitment, was filed by other women who said they were victimized by the accused, and the other, human trafficking, was filed by the Veloso family in relation to Mary Jane’s case.
Meanwhile, Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Partylist chairperson, said the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs, in a meeting with the Veloso family and their lawyers yesterday, Jan. 6, confirmed that Mary Jane is not among those who would be executed, as reported in various news outfits.
Regalado added that Mary Jane’s case remains in “status quo pending resolution of ongoing legal proceedings in the Philippines.” So far, the trial against accused Sergio and Lacanilao began only in November last year, nearly six months since Mary Jane was spared from execution.
In a joint statement, Mary Jane’s lawyers Edre Olalia and Josalee Deinla, both from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, said the court proceedings are not going as swiftly as they wish, “but are moving despite a cornucopia of dilatory legal acrobatics by said recruiters through their lawyers.” The latest attempt to delay the case was thumbed down by the Court of Appeals, the lawyers said.
“Notwithstanding, Migrante continues to call for vigilance and sustained support for Mary Jane, in light of the slow course of justice,” Regalado said.
The Veloso family is set to fly to Indonesia and visit Mary Jane on Jan. 11, a day after her birthday. On the other hand, her supporters back in the Philippines will hold a mass and a symbolic action in Nueva Ecija on Jan. 10.