PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to try to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina who is on death row in Indonesia of drug trafficking.
Speaking to reporters in Davao City before flying to Laos for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits, Duterte said he would intercede on behalf of Veloso, but added that he was ready to accept Widodo’s decision on the case.
“I may just have to ask Widodo in a most respectful and a very, very courteous way. And if my pleadings fall on deaf ears, I am ready to accept it,” said Duterte, who is set to visit Indonesia on September 8 to 9.
The President said he does not doubt the judicial system of Indonesia.
“I have been there once upon a time and I was able to observe how it works. Whether or not she’s really guilty, she’s found to have culpable liability. So I might just accept the system and plead for mercy,” Duterte said.
“But if President Widodo will deny it, still, I would be grateful that she has been treated very well … had it been the other way around, I might also be at the receiving end of so many pleas for mercy. And I would never know what or how to react,” he added.
Veloso was due to be executed last year by firing squad, but she was given a last-minute reprieve by the Indonesian government.
The reprieve was given after Manila told Jakarta that it had arersted Veloso’s employer who allegedly planted the illegal drugs on the Filipina’s luggage.
Indonesia and the Philippines are two of Asia’s main suppliers of migrant workers, with about 8.5 million of their laborers overseas, official data showed.
There are reportedly 205 Indonesians and 94 Filipinos on death row overseas.
Indonesia imposed a moratorium on executions for five years before resuming them in 2013. It has executed 14 convicts, most of them foreigners, under President Widodo.
Amid international outrage last year, executions were postponed.