Boxer-turned-congressman Manny Pacquiao should head home and get back to work, his colleague in Congress said on Monday, a day after his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao, who represents the lone district of Sarangani in the House of Representatives, is expected to be elevated as chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs as a result of the resignation of Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello.
The committee, which lists Pacquiao as vice chairman, was due to conduct an inquiry into the case of Mary Jane Veloso, whose execution in Indonesia was suspended at the 11th hour last week.
Pacquiao was among the personalities who made an appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare Veloso’s life.
“There should be marathon hearings on whether the government really failed to provide adequate assistance to Mary Jane. We call [Pacquiao] the People’s Champ. He should make time for Mary Jane,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon told reporters.
Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate have filed House Resolution 2042 that seeks to probe Veloso’s case and those of other Filipinos who are under detention abroad because of drug-related offenses.
“He [Pacquiao] made a statement calling for a stop to Mary Jane’s execution. It is time to walk the talk,” Ridon, a lawyer, said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will ask the Indonesian government to give them access to Veloso, who remains incarcerated in Jakarta.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said prosecutors need to get Veloso’s testimony against her alleged recruiters Maria Kristina Sergio, Julius Lacanilao and a certain Ike.
Sergio and Lacanilao are now in the custody of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
In a sworn statement before the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last March 31, Veloso claimed it was Lacanilao who introduced her to Sergio, who in turn accompanied her to Malaysia. Ike, said to be a foreigner, was tagged as the one who gave Mary Jane the suitcase where 2.6 kilograms of heroin were hidden.
“We need to access Mary Jane because she is a complaining witness against the suspects,” de Lima said also on Monday.
Sergio and Lacanilao are expected to appear during preliminary investigation of the human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa cases filed against them on Friday, May 8.
Other victims who claim they were also duped by Sergio are expected to surface and file formal complaints against her.
De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been verifying the claims of Sergio’s alleged victims.
“The NBI is working on it and we can expect pretty soon something with respect to those other complainants against the same alleged trafficker,” she added.