“The bottom line is this: how in heaven’s name can we get to hear the side of a compatriot who is behind bars and waiting on death row in a foreign land and who cannot come home for said purpose?”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – OFW Mary Jane Veloso is still on death row in Indonesia. Two years since she got a temporary reprieve, she is still fighting for her life and freedom while her family and OFW groups are still asking the government to exhaust all legal remedies to help the jailed OFWs like her.
Being in jail in another country, Veloso could not attend the court hearings in the criminal cases filed against her recruiter Cristina Sergio and her partner Julius Lacanilao, in the Philippines. Her appeal in Indonesia rested on the Philippine courts’ decision on her recruiters’ criminal culpability.
Unfortunately for Veloso, her recruiter has been capitalizing on her being in jail, and her physical absence in Philippine courts. They are using it to “muzzle” her testimony when she is the most credible witness, as well as the victim in the case, the NUPL said in a statement. The court was supposed to just take Veloso’s deposition since she could not be there personally, but it was stopped since April 9 when the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order on her deposition.
Near end-April Veloso’s legal counsel in NUPL filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals’ decision. A month later, on May 22, the Court of Appeals denied this appeal to let her testimony be heard in court.
“The bottom line is this: how in heaven’s name can we get to hear the side of a compatriot who is behind bars and still on death row in a foreign land and who cannot come home for said purpose?” asked her Philippine private counsels led by Edre Olalia.
If this is how the government acts to protect its so-called modern-day heroes – playing fixated on archaic arguments that do not consider present day realities — the NUPL concluded, this does not seem grounded in reality. This also shows a lack of compassion and sincere search for justice, they said. This, in a case such as Mary Jane’s that is racing against time as her reprieve might be ended soon.