Mary Jane and government spin


The upside of having this government spin the case of Mary Jane to make it look like they’ve been doing something all this time? The fact that it has pushed Migrante International to deal with it based on facts.
Talbog tayong lahat.

Migrante International’s timeline of events is based on sworn affidavits of the members of Mary Jane’s family, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and Migrante, as well as its partner organizations in Indonesia. It also includes the timeline of Mary Jane’s case from the DFA itself, and the government press releases and statements about the case. All of it is online via the Migrante website, or go straight to this link –

What strikes me about the timeline (that I’ve read countless times) is how it actually reveals that Migrante itself only learned about the case of Mary Jane in February of this year. They found Mary Jane’s family in March, and sought the help of NUPL in early April. What is also striking about this timeline is how among Migrante, the NUPL, their counterpart organizations in Indonesia, and Mary Jane’s family, it was instantly clear what needed to be done: get Mary Jane’s recruiter Kristina Sergio arrested because it would be crucial to Mary Jane’s appeal. The first time Migrante demanded this of the Department of Justice (DOJ) was on April 8.

The government, through the DOJ, NBI and PDEA would only file a formal complaint against Kristina Sergio on April 27. That’s two days before the scheduled execution.

The question is still why.

Government failures

And lest people say, well, why did it take Migrante that long to demand that Sergio be arrested, there is the rest of the timeline to read.
What it reveals, as far as what the family of Mary Jane had done since her arrest in April 2010, is particularly damning to this government and its pertinent offices.

The timeline details how as early as August 2010, four months after Mary Jane’s arrest in Indonesia, her family had in fact gone to Manila to report her case to the DFA. They went back many times, and even went to the NBI. The latter told them that “they could not file any complaint against Sergio due to lack of evidence.”

In late 2010, Mary Jane sent her family an affidavit from her Yogyakarta Prison twice, so that the family could file the complaint against Sergio with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Both times the family would receive the mail without the affidavit. The family reported this to the PDEA in early 2011. It is unclear what they did.

Throughout 2011, Mary Jane’s case was moving in Indonesia, with her Indonesian lawyers. On August 23 2011, a year after Mary Jane was first sentenced to death, and more than a year after her arrest, President Aquino intervened in her case for the first time, asking for clemency from then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono.

On October 11 2012, Mary Jane called her family to say that her sentence had been upheld in all courts and that she was to be executed soon. She was desperate for help. The family informed their DFA case officer, who told them that this news was false. A day after, the DFA case officer got back to them and confirmed that what Mary Jane was telling her family was true.

PDEA again refused to file a case against Sergio due to lack of evidence.
In January 2015, Mary Jane would again make this desperate call to her family, after two years of waiting for a change in her case, if not the granting of clemency (denied by President Widodo in 2014). Mary Jane asked her family to seek help from anyone who might be able to assist her. Again, her family went to the DFA, where they found that their case officer had been changed, and that she would do exactly what their past case officer had done: deny that the execution was happening soon.
Apparently three months wasn’t soon enough.

Questions, questions

Why did it take so long for the DFA to actually act on Mary Jane’s case?
Why didn’t the PDEA help the family find a way to get that affidavit from Mary Jane in Indonesia? Why could it not act right away on the family’s complaint against Sergio, the one person who recruited Mary Jane, and who made the family believe that she was fine? Why were case officers always contradicting what Mary Jane herself was telling her family about her case?

It is also clear in the timeline that DFA itself refused to give the family of Mary Jane access to documents pertinent to her case. The excuse was that they did not have custody of these documents as of April 13, 2015, and that the documents were still in Bahasa.

Yet another question–five years after Mary Jane is first arrested, four years after she is sentenced to death, the DFA had yet to gather documents on this OFW’s case. Why? And DFA had yet to get the documents translated? Pray tell, why?

If government has messed up this much with the case of Mary Jane, what is it doing exactly for the rest of the 123 Filipinos on death row?

Yes, not all Filipinos on death row will have the same case as Mary Jane’s, but certainly they deserve assistance, if not kindness and compassion, from their own government, don’t they?

Isn’t it that unless proven otherwise, all OFWs should be Mary Jane?


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  1. President Aquino intervened in her case for the first time, asking for clemency from then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono

    I may not be a pnoy fan pero bago pa naging presidente si widodo nakiusap na pla sa mas naunang presidente. kaya mali nanaman nanay ni veloso na wala ginawa gobyerno natin.

    • dinocatuira on

      ang walang pursigidong kilos lalo na kung buhay ang naka taya ay hindi gawa lalo na sa isang hirang ng taong bayan! ang pananagutan ay hindi natatapos sa isang insidente ng pagkakataon HINDI ITO GAWA PAG DI ITO TAPOS! INTINDIHIN ANG KAIBAHAN NG KILOS SA GAWA!

  2. Really??? Does author Santiago really want Indonesia or Malaysia or Canada to believe that all migrant workers from the Philippines are like Mary Jane who has drugs in her suitcase when entering an airport? Actually, didn’t Mary Jane enter Malaysia on a tourist visa?

  3. Mary Jane is not an OFW she’s tourist caught sneaking drugs, Check how many young Americans male and female in Asian jailed that even the US government cannot help because of the drug issue.

    Sir, millions of poor Filipinos who are in fact OFWs (Overseas Foreign Workers) are forced to enter other countries on tourist visas. This happens sometimes with the cooperation of the family overseas that is hiring the Filipina domestic worker because they are not qualified to legally sponsor a Filipina OFW.

    • Bob, MJ is a former OFW who worked in the Middle East as a DH. Her employer attempted to rape her. She ran away and successfully repatriated and because of poverty she applied again to Malaysia. MJ give 20k to Sergio who instead of giving MJ work in Malaysia trafficked her to Indonesia.

  4. Thank you ! The affidavit of Celia Veloso should be publicized so that those who are calling her ingrate will know why she acted the way she did!