The Court of Appeals has stopped the scheduled deposition of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina who’s now in death row in Indonesia after being convicted of a drug trafficking case.
The Court of Appeals’ Eleventh Division issued a 60-day temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of the ruling of Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 that set the deposition on April 27, 2017.
The appellate court acted on the petition filed by the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) in behalf of Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, the alleged recruiters of Veloso
The deposition was to be used as evidence against Sergio and Lacanilao who were charged with qualified trafficking in persons by the family of Veloso. It would help Veloso’s appeal in Indonesia and boost her claim that she was tricked into carrying the illegal drugs.
The supposed deposition is to be administered by the Philippine Consular official in Yogyakarta, Indonesia where Veloso is imprisoned and to be personally observed by the respondent judge.
The PAO had argued that the taking of a deposition violates the right of the two accused to confront the witnesses against them face to face.
The Department of Foreign Affairs expressed hope that the deposition will be held as soon as possible.
“We will await the time that Mary Jane is given the opportunity to give her statement in a deposition, which is crucial in the case filed against her alleged recruiters. We are confident that justice will ultimately be served,” said Spokesman Charles Jose.
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia said his group was disappointment by the CA ruling.
“We shall not stop exhausting all fair legal means in combination with decisive political action to ensure that she is allowed to speak the truth, the whole truth [and]nothing but the truth,” Olalia said in a statement.
Jomar Canlas and Jim Pilapil