Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday assured the parents of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) facing execution in Indonesia that the government will exhaust all “legal remedies and options” to spare the life of their child.
Binay, the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, met with Celia and Cesar Veloso at the Makati City Hall, where he discussed the government’s next move to save Mary Jane Veloso.
During the meeting, Binay called up Assistant Secretary Minda Calaguian-Cruz of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs, who assured the vice president that the government will be filing a second petition for judicial review.
“Let us check what we can do. (Veloso) is a first time offender and a widow with two young children,” Binay told Calaguian-Cruz.
Jakarta had said it will wait for any outstanding legal appeals to conclude before executing all 10 drug convicts – including Veloso – at the same time.
Veloso, 30, was sentenced to die by firing squad after she was apprehended at Java’s Yogyakarta Airport in April 2010 for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her luggage.
But Celia denied the heroin seized from Mary Jane’s luggage were her daughter’s, saying the contraband was secretly put there by a certain Christine, who she said was the wife of her daughter’s godbrother.
“My daughter really had no idea. Bag lang pong maliit ‘yong dala ng anak ko. Dalawang piraso lang po. Kaya lang po matalino ‘yong (si Christine) talaga. Binilhan po ng maraming damit. Noon pong aalis na raw po [papunta]sa Indonesia, may nakita raw siyang papasukan do’n, inabot po ‘yong maleta (She was only carrying a small bag. But Christine was wily. She bought plenty of clothes. When Mary Jane was about to leave for Indonesia, she suddenly handed her a piece of luggage,” Celia said.
The couple sought the Vice President’s help after the Indonesian Supreme Court denied the Philippine government’s request for a judicial review of Veloso’s case.
In their appeal for judicial review, Veloso’s lawyers argued that the Filipina was not provided with a capable translator during her trial.
Binay recently renewed his appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to commute Veloso’s death sentence.