PHILIPPINE Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday assured that Filipino death convict Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted in Indonesia for drug smuggling, and her family will continue to receive assistance from the Philippine government.
Speaking to reporters, Del Rosario said the government never stopped providing aid to Veloso and her family.
“We have done everything possible to be able to have the sentence of Mary Jane Veloso reduced,” Del Rosario said amid criticisms that the government, particularly the DFA had been remiss in its duties to the imprisoned Filipino.
President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd, the DFA chief said, has written several times to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to seek executive clemency and to his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he was still in power.
Veloso, 30, was caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin at the Yogyakarta Airport in 2010. The Indonesian Supreme Court upheld this year the death sentence meted on her by a lower court.
Manila filed a judicial review — an option allowed under Indonesian laws for death penalty cases — on behalf of Veloso in a bid to reduce her sentence to life imprisonment, but it was turned down by the Supreme Court.
Del Rosario said the Philippine government will file for a second review once it receives a copy of the Indonesian Supreme Court decision that rejected Manila’s plea.
He noted that he has already made representations to his Indonesian counterpart and even visited Veloso at the Yogyakarta penitentiary last month.
Del Rosario said he also talked with Veloso’s family and that the DFA has started a “modest fund” for the schooling of her children.
“I have talked to the family. The family was pleased. I wanted to give them a peace of mind. They are very appreciative of what the government is endeavoring to do with Mary Jane and Mary Jane expressed her gratitude profusely,” he said.
“Truly, I can think of other ways to help her,” Del Rosario said. “We think we have done the best we can.”