President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday hit back at his critics as he refused to take credit for Mary Jane Veloso’s reprieve.
Speaking to reporters in Bacolod City, Aquino said he and other government officials were only doing their job of protecting Filipinos abroad.
“Hindi importante sa akin kung sino ba ang dapat bigyan ng kredito dito at bahala na ang taumbayan,” Aquino said.
“Imbes na, ‘di ba, naghahabulan ng kredito, baka dapat maghanap tayo ng paraan matulungan nga lahat itong mga kababayan nalalagay sa panganib,” he added.
Aquino also urged his critics to help the campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking.
He said Filipinos should also learn from Veloso’s case and follow the regular process of seeking jobs overseas.
“Baka naman puwede silang tumulong sa pagpapalawak ‘nung impormasyon kung paano nga maiwasan ang mga sitwasyon na ganito,” he said.
“Si Mary Jane mismo, isa sa mga binasa ay huwag nang, ‘di ba, parang huwag nang gumawa ng paraan, sumunod na lang sa proseso kapag ika’y aalis ng bansa para magtrabaho. Iyon sana ang pagtuunan natin ng pansin,” he added.
President Aquino also addressed those claiming that the government had failed to address human trafficking and illegal drug trade involving Filipinos.
He said since 2011, the number of incidents involving Filipino drug mules has decreased to 14 from the yearly average of 78.
“Kung may mga ibang tao nagkokomentaryo na wake up call ito na dapat tayong kumilos, kami matagal nang mulat ang mata namin, kumikilos kami at nagkakaresulta na,” Aquino added.
Veloso was arrested by Indonesian authorities for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilos of heroin in 2010.
She has claimed that she knew nothing about the contraband since the travel bag that contained it was merely handed to her.
Veloso was scheduled for execution by firing squad early Wednesday when Indonesian authorities halted the execution.
No less than Indonesia’s Attorney General said Veloso was spared after President Aquino’s appeal that Veloso be used as a witness in the impending case against her recruiter Maria Kristina P. Sergio, also known as Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla.