• Church groups ask govt: Help Mary Jane


    AN alliance of Church-based anti-human trafficking groups has added its voice to the growing campaign to save the life of a Filipino single mother who is set to be executed in Indonesia for drug smuggling.

    The Philippine Interfaith Movement Against Human Trafficking (Pimaht) on Sunday expressed belief that Mary Jane Veloso, 30, is innocent of the crime she was found guilty of.

    The group said Veloso was a victim of human trafficking because “she was duped into transporting drugs.”

    “Coming from a poor peasant family, Mary Jane was desperate to provide a better life for her two sons and her parents,” Pimaht said in a statement.

    “While we are relieved that legal remedies are now being undertaken and the execution has been stayed temporarily, these are mainly windows of opportunity to unite in solidarity with Mary Jane and join hands in praying and seeking her release. Her pain is our pain. Her family’s pain is our pain,” it added.

    Veloso was convicted for smuggling 2l6 kilograms of heroin.

    According to PIMAHT, human trafficking is a scourge that thrives on the vulnerability of poor people.

    “As churches, we value God’s gift of life and we raise our voices in prayer and appeal to the Philippine government to exert all the efforts for her life to be spared. We also extend our plea to the Indonesian government to heed the growing voices in the country and within the international community to grant her clemency,” the coalition said.

    They appealed to the government to use the full force of the law to ensure that those who prey on the vulnerable are arrested and jailed.

    Earlier, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Tagle advised overseas Filipino workers to always be on guard against requests of friends or strangers to carry something in their stead.

    “If you have no idea what is inside that bag, you will be the one responsible because it is in your possession. If the content turns out to be illegal, you might be arrested for it,” Tagle said.

    The prelate also pleaded with the Indonesian government to give Veloso the proper hearing she deserves.

    “I appeal that Mary Jane Veloso be given due process. While I do respect the laws of other countries. I appeal on behalf of all people who will be arrested, that their rights be respected and that due process be extended to them,” he added.


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