DFA to Aquino: Seek mercy for doomed Pinay

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will urge President Benigno Aquino 3rd to appeal for another clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina sentenced to death in Indonesia on illegal-drug charges .

Aquino earlier wrote then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, requesting clemency for Veloso.

When Joko Widodo, however, assumed the Indonesian presidency in October last year, he rejected all pending requests for clemency for drug cases in line with his strong election campaign against illegal drugs.

Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a news briefing that the DFA will urge the President to request another clemency for Veloso from Widodo.


He added that Presidents Aquino and Widodo had talked about the Filipina’s case when the Indonesian president visited the Philippines in February.

There was no promise of clemency made, however.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario had also talked with his Indonesian counterpart about the appeal being made for Veloso.

Jose said the government has not lost hope that Veloso will be shown mercy.

The Filipina’s lawyers are preparing for a second appeal after the first request for judicial review was denied by Indonesia’s Supreme Court.

Before seeking another judicial review, the lawyers had to complete legal processes of the first judicial review, especially because they were not given a copy of the decision of the Supreme Court.

The decision to reject the first request for judicial review was merely posted on the court’s website.

“We are looking at all legal and diplomatic avenues. We will avail ourselves of any measure that will be available to us that we deem necessary,” Jose said.

Veloso is being detained in a jail in Yogyakarta, and has not been transferred to Nusa Kambangan, also known as Indonesia’s Execution Island.

Two Australian drug smugglers, members of the “Bali Nine,” have been transferred to the island, and are awaiting death by firing squad for their role in a failed 2005 heroin smuggling plot.

The Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are among the 10 drug convicts due to be executed.

The group originally included Veloso, as well as citizens of France, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.

Widodo also earlier denied the Australians’ request for presidential clemency.

Although Jose could not identify what differentiates Veloso’s case from that of the two Australians, he hinted that it maybe because the Australians were not able to submit their appeal on time.

Indonesia is allowing Veloso to finish all outstanding legal appeals before the ruling that condemns or spares her is made final.

Veloso, 30, entered Yogyakarta as a tourist via Malaysia in 2010. She is a single mother and an informal worker.

She was caught bringing in 2.6 kilos of heroin in her suitcases that she said a friend had asked her to bring.

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