“I am yearning for my mother. I hope to be with her soon. Please continue supporting her.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Mary Jane Veloso’s two sons have grown several inches taller since they first came out in public, pleading for their mother’s life back in 2015. They quietly entered the conference room of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, where supporters of their mother gathered today.
“Binata na,” the crowd gushed at the two boys, Mark Daniel and Mark Darren, who are now 15 and 9 years old, respectively.
The two boys, along with their grandfather Cesar Veloso, Migrante International spokesperson Arman Hernando and lawyer Josalee Deinla, are set to fly to Indonesia tomorrow, Sept. 11, to visit Mary Jane, who remains incarcerated in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. They will also attend the Interfaith Mission for Solidarity and Service with Migrants, Refugees, and Uprooted People in Jakarta, where they will share Mary Jane’s ordeal.
In a humble send-off gathering, the two boys asked for public support for their mother, who has yet to provide her testimony in the human trafficking and estafa charges filed before a Nueva Ecija court against her recruiters, Maria Kristina Sergio and live-in partner Julius Lacanilao.
“I am yearning for my mother. I hope to be with her soon. Please continue supporting her,” Mark Daniel said.
A ‘novel’ case
Mary Jane and her family has recently filed a motion before the Supreme Court, requesting to intervene as the high court is set to tackle the ongoing legal battle if the Filipina in death row should be allowed to testify through a written testimony.
Her lawyer Deinla, who is also the spokesperson of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, said this is the first time that the Supreme Court will look into a case as “novel” as Mary Jane’s, where the “party is a convict and in death row at that in one jurisdiction and a victim as a private complainant in another jurisdiction.”
Deinla argued that Mary Jane is a material witness and that the accused will have a meaningful opportunity to cross- and recross-examine her.
Migrante International’s Hernando pointed out that under President Rodrigo Duterte, Mary Jane’s case has hardly moved forward.
He said that in 2016, no less than Duterte himself said that he will speak to the Veloso family, after his meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo. The said meeting, he added, never pushed through.
Mary Jane’s father Cesar, during the send-off gathering, said that their family went to the Malacañang Palace four times, in the hope that they might be able to speak to Duterte but to no avail. He decried, too, the lack of assistance they are getting from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) when they asked if they could visit Mary Jane.
“They said there is no budget,” Cesar told Bulatlat in an interview.
In fact, Mary Jane’s two sons used to receive P2,000 ($37) monetary assistance from the DFA. But this, too, has stopped midyear of 2017.
Cesar said he is very thankful to the supporters of Mary Jane, especially those in the religious community, who scoured resources to help them see her daughter again.