By MARC RECHELLE BUNTAG
MANILA – Various groups have joined the family of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina on death row, in urging Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to raise her case in his state visit to Indonesia, saying that she is long overdue for release.
Marcos Jr. is set to meet Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo today September 4 to 6 to discuss the relations of the two countries.
“We would be very thankful if we can bring home our daughter Mary Jane in the soonest possible time because she is innocent. She worked abroad because she wanted to provide her children a decent life,” Cesar Veloso, father of Mary Jane, said in Filipino in a letter addressed to the Department of Migrant Workers.
Veloso, a victim of human trafficking, was arrested in 2010 in Indonesia after authorities found heroin inside her luggage. She was sentenced to die but her execution was stayed at the last minute to give Philippine authorities an opportunity to hear Mary Jane’s case against her illegal recruiters.
Migrante International, along with Churches Witnessing with Migrants and National Council of Churches in the Philippines, said Marcos Jr. should prioritize Mary Jane’s case and exhaust all means to free Mary Jane from her 12-year detention.
“During President Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address speech, he mentioned the government’s campaign against human trafficking. If he is truly genuine in his commitment to combat the problem of human trafficking, he should exert all efforts to appeal to President Widodo to release Mary Jane under humanitarian grounds,” Migrante International chairperson Joanna Concepcion said.
Tomorrow, Sept. 5, a prayer rally will be held in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City and a candle-lighting program in the UCCP chapel in EDSA West Triangle at 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (JJE)