• Clock ticks for Mary Jane

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    Mary-Jane-armored-car

    FINAL COUNTDOWN An armored vehicle carrying Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Veloso (main photo) arrives in Cilacap on her way to Nusakambangan maximum security prison island off central Java island on Friday following her transfer from Yogyakarta prison. AFP

    Convicted Filipina moved to execution island

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered all nine convicted foreign drug smugglers, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, transferred to Nusakambangan prison island where death row convicts are executed, a Philippine foreign affairs official said on Friday.

    Veloso, whose two sons aged 12 and six have come to be with her in her final hours, was transferred on Friday morning under heavy police guard to Nusakambangan, sparking protests in Manila.

    Jakarta has stuck to its hard line that the drug convicts must be executed, even if last-gasp legal maneuvers are still pending, provoking fury abroad.

    Relatives and diplomats scrambled to visit the foreign drug convicts as Indonesian authorities, defying international outrage, made final preparations to execute them.

    In a text message to reporters in Manila, foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said even prisoners with pending appeals were ordered to be taken to the facility infamously known as the “execution island.”

    “Indonesian government has ordered all prisoners up for execution with or without pending appeals to be transferred to the “Indonesian government has ordered all prisoners up for execution with or without pending appeals to be transferred to the island including Mary Jane Veloso,” Jose added.

    Activists together with Veloso’s relatives and friends stage a protest in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Manila.  Photo by Rene Dilan

    Activists together with Veloso’s relatives and friends stage a protest in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Manila.
    Photo by Rene Dilan

    “Lawyers and embassy were not notified in advance of transfer. We’ll inform you of developments as they happen,” he said in a text message to reporters in Manila.

    Jose, however, added that the Filipina’s transfer to the island did not necessarily mean imminent execution.

    He said the Philippine government would be given 72 hours or three days’ notice before the Indonesian authorities “carry out the execution.”

    A Jakarta Post report quoting diplomats interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corp. on Friday, however, said the Indonesian government has summoned foreign embassy officials to the prison island on Saturday.

    “The request could suggest the executions,” according to the report. “An execution date has not been set–convicts must be given 72 hours of notice.”

    Earlier, an Attorney General’s Office (AGO) spokesman said prosecutors have been told to prepare for the executions. The AGO letter ordering the execution was dated April 23.

    “This order has been issued so that the officials make preparations concerning their roles,” spokesman Tony Spontana said.

    The Jakarta Post said the execution will be carried out after the conclusion of the 60th Asian-African Conference or the Bandung Conference Commemoration on Friday

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said Jakarta will allow all appeal processes to be completed before transferring Veloso along with the other convicts to the island.

    Jose said neither Veloso’s lawyers nor the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta were informed in advance of the transfer.

    The DFA said in a Friday afternoon briefing that the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta has filed a second appeal for judicial review on Veloso’s behalf.

    “Our embassy in Jakarta has filed today the second appeal for judicial review,” Jose said.

    Jesus Yabes, DFA undersecretary for migrant workers affairs, said the second appeal will include evidence based on findings from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency proving Veloso’s innocence.

    The Indonesian Supreme Court earlier turned down Veloso’s initial appeal after a judicial review.

    Appeals to Widodo to show mercy have so far fallen on deaf ears.
    President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Vice President Jejomar Binay made appeals to Widodo for clemency but to no avail.

    Binay said he appealed for clemency for Veloso during a bilateral meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Jusuf Kalla, on Thursday.

    “I appeal to you on considerations of compassion, and assure you that the Philippine government is exhausting all avenues to ensure that proper justice is served to those responsible for deceiving Mary Jane into having brought the drugs into Indonesia,” Binay said, quoting from a written appeal he handed to Kalla.

    Widodo, who took office in 2014, has a policy of denying clemency to drug offenders, saying the drug trade has caused huge damage to Indonesia. He had called for respect for Indonesia’s laws amid heavy criticisms from governments whose citizens are facing execution.

    Aside from Veloso, others in her group who are scheduled to face a firing squad include citizens of Australia, France, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.

    On Thursday, Veloso’s family flew to Jakarta to meet her. The DFA, which shouldered the travel expenses of Veloso’s family, said it was the 30-year-old Filipina’s request to see her family before an execution date is set.

    Veloso, 30, entered Yogyakarta as a tourist via Malaysia in 2010. She was caught bringing in 2.6 kilos of heroin in her luggage, which she said a friend asked her to bring.

    Veloso claims a family friend, working with an international crime gang, had secretly stashed heroin in her suitcase when she was arrested at Yogyakarta airport.

    Her plight has been keenly felt in the Philippines, where around 100 protesters carrying “Save the life of Mary Jane” signs in Indonesian Bahasa picketed Jakarta’s embassy in Manila.

    “Mary Jane doesn’t have that much time. The [Philippine)]government must show determination to save her from death row,” Garry Martinez of the emigrants support group Migrante told Agence France-Presse.
    Binay also on Friday appealed for prayers for Veloso.

    “I urge everyone to include Mary Jane and her family in their prayers. Let us pray that the Indonesian government will heed our appeal for the commutation of Mary Jane’s sentence,” he said.

    WITH AFP

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    7 Comments

    1. While illegal drugs are bad, but the case of Ms Veloso is not about the effect off drugs,it is the technicality of whether it was her real intention to bring the prohibited items to Indonesia. What is to be considered is Was she innocent? Was she just accommodating to a friend who requested her to bring the package? If it could be proven beyond reasonable doubt that she was just a Mule then, maybe the sentence could be lighter than death. This angle should be looked into. Therefore, I pray that
      the sentence of firing squad won’t be carried immediately.

    2. its a waste of time to try to stop this execution and why even try when she committed this heinous crime. she took the risk then that’s what she gets. she is a criminal so be it go ahead with the execution. this is what should be done in the Philippines. revive the death penalty. why feed and take care this criminals is a waste of money. More power to Indonesia.

    3. Drugs are the scourge of the world. Look at what the mexican drug cartels do to people. Look at the misery caused by taking these drugs. This is all done with thousands of people at all levels. Do they care about the carnage that the drugs they are selling or transporting, no, all they care about is their profit.
      I have no sympathy for this woman at all. She knew the consequesnces of her actions & if she didnt then she is stupid & should have done even just a little research.
      If all drug dealers & pushers & transporters & manufacturers were all put to death it may start to rid the world of this horrible menace.
      Her children i feel sorry for, but her she deserves exactly what is coming to her.

    4. If Jojo Binay succeeds in his mission to save the life of Mary Jane, that would be a powerful campaign slogan like the late President Magsaysay when campaigning bragged:”binagkat ku itibankay ni Moses Padilla.” Referring to the murder of a newsman., whose body he was carrying. And the dramatic trial expounded by the late Sen. Estanislao Fernandes in acquitting a filipina who was charged with murdering an american husband.

    5. Nancy Bulok Cake on

      Kung ang ipinadala ng Pilipinas sa Indonesia ay ibang tao (hindi si Binay) ay baka binigyan pa ng isang tsansa ang Pilipinong ito. Sa kaitiman ng budhi ni Binay, ay pumunta sa Indonesia para daw makiusap pero ang talagang purpose ni Binay ay para lang sa kanyang political ambition. Kawawa naman ang Pinay na ito. Kung hindi sana gagamitin ni Binay sa politika ang pagpunta niya sa Indonesia ay baka sakaling mabigyan ng pagasa. At kung iba sanang tao ang pinadala na may personalidad at integridad ay may pagasa pa ang Pinay na ito. Puwede lang si Binay sa China dahil parehong corrupt ang pagmumukha nila. Walang personalidad si Binay dahil maitim na ang budhi at ulikba ay alam na ng international leaders ang kakurapan niya.

      • Ang hirap ni VP Binay…. Pag tumutulong sasabihin ng mga tao namumulitika siya; pag walang ginagawa sasabihin nagpapabaya.