By JONAS ALPASAN
MANILA – The Philippine Court of Appeals has issued a temporary restraining order on the securing of Filipina in deathrow Mary Jane Veloso’s written deposition.
“It is with utter disappointment and unfathomable frustration to learn that the Philippine Court of Appeals, upon the instance of the recruiter’s defense, just recently issued an order restraining the long overdue deposition of convicted migrant worker Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and one of the lawyers of Mary Jane and her family
In a three-page decision, Court of Appeals 11th Division issued a 60-day temporary restraining order enjoining and directing the Baloc Regional Trial Court Branch 88 presided by Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes, to cease and desist from implementing the securing of Mary Jane’s written testimony, which the latter has granted twice.
The CA’s 11th decision is composed of Associate Justices Ramon Bato Jr., Manuel Barrios, and Renato Francisco.
Mary Jane was set to provide her written testimony on April 27, just short of two days on the exact day she was spared from the gallows two years ago.
“A victim of injustice several times over, distressed migrant workers like Mary Jane expect from her compatriots not only to uphold fairness, reason and justice but also to demonstrate empathy and conscience at the very least,” Olalia said in a statement..
Mary Jane is the last witness to be presented by the prosecution against her recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao who are facing charges of qualified human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa.
This would have been Mary Jane’s first time to testify on her ordeal before a court, which the Indonesian criminal process did not allow. Mary Jane was sentenced to die by firing squad at dawn of April 30, 2015 but was spared on the last minute due to local and international outcry about her being a victim of human trafficking.
Since then, Mary Jane and her family, through their lawyers, have been pursuing the charges against the recruiters, who, on the other hand, are being represented by the Philippine government’s Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) led by its chief lawyers Persida Acosta and Howard Areza.
Olalia said they will not “stop exhausting all fair legal means in combination with decisive political action to ensure that she is allowed to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”