By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANIILA – More than 20 groups from different countries supported the call to let Mary Jane Veloso testify in court against her traffickers.
Veloso is a witness to the charges of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa filed against her recruiters namely Ma. Cristina P. Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. The last hearing is set on Sept. 26 at the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court.
Supporters trooped to the Supreme Court Sept. 24 to urge the high court to let Veloso speak.
The local court allowed Veloso to testify through a written deposition but was blocked by the Court of Appeals in 2017. Her family filed a petition at the SC to overrule the appellate court’s decision and let Veloso tell her side of the story.
‘Let her speak’ | Appellate court asked to reconsider decision barring Mary Jane’s testimony
Veloso’s lawyer Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said, “We still fervently hope and pray that the Philippine Supreme Court will now finally allow her to testify by way of written deposition from her death row prison cell which is the only mode allowed or permitted by the Indonesian authorities.”
Joanna Concepcion, Migrante International chairperson, also called on the SC to allow Mary Jane to speak the truth as various groups in the international community continue to seek updates on the latest developments about her case here in the Philippines.
The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Reformed denomination in the US, said in its solidarity letter, “As a church, we pray that these legal proceedings will uphold Mary Jane’s individual worth and responsibility. As a human trafficking victim, these proceedings should help her to assert her rights, including the right to testify against her recruiters.”
Veloso was jailed in Yogyakarta, Indonesia since 2010 after the police allegedly seized 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her luggage. She was sentenced to death by firing squad in April 2015 but was put on hold in last minute due to strong protest and support from different groups here and abroad.