“My family maybe poor, but I would never be involved in illegal drugs…I am innocent.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – In a very emotional message, Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina on deathrow in Indonesia, asked President Rodrigo Duterte to help her be reunited with her family.
“Kayo po ang pag-asa ko (You are my only hope). I know that you can help me,” Veloso said in a phone call, recorded and transcribed by her sister Maritess Laurente.
In tears, Veloso repeatedly appealed to Duterte about her innocence.
“If I really committed the crime, then I should be executed now. But it hurts to know that I am here despite not doing anything wrong,” she said.
Mary Jane Veloso was sentenced to death six years ago for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin, hidden in a bag lent to her by her recruiters. Her scheduled execution was stayed at dawn of April 30, 2015 amid national and international outcry about her being a victim of human trafficking. Indonesian President Joko Widodo stayed the execution pending the case filed by Mary Jane’s family against her recruiters.
However, she remains in prison in Yogyakarta, away from her family, her two young children most specially.
Apart from being reunited to her family, Mary Jane also asked Duterte to help her attain justice.
“I have been here for almost seven years. But the justice that I have long been yearning for remains elusive. Please, I ask you to help me and my family attain justice,” she said.
Her recruiters Maria Kristina Sergio and live-in partner Julius Lacanilao currently face illegal recruitment, qualified human trafficking, and estafa charges. The Veloso family has assailed the apparent slow proceedings of the case..
Recently, the new judge handling Mary Jane’s case ruled to allow her testimony through a written deposition. This, however, was met with a strong opposition from the lawyers of the recruiters, belonging to the Public Attorney’s Office, a government agency.
Mary Jane said, “To the Philippines’ dear president, I know that you have a heart. You are also a parent to your children. My family maybe poor, but I would never be involved in illegal drugs. They can incarcerate me for all they want, but I would never accept their accusation. I am innocent.”