• Tearful prayers as Pacquiao visits Veloso

    Morale booster Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao hugs Mary Jane Veloso during his visit to Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta on Friday.  AFP PHOTO

    Morale booster
    Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao hugs Mary Jane Veloso during his visit to Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta on Friday.

    YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao visited Mary Jane Veloso, a migrant worker on death row in Indonesia, on Friday, with the convict breaking down in tears as she prayed behind bars with the Filipino sporting hero.

    Veloso was sentenced to death in Indonesia after being arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase.

    She had been due to face the firing squad along with other foreign drug convicts in April but was granted a temporary reprieve after a woman suspected of recruiting her was arrested in the Philippines.

    Indonesian authorities have insisted the case of Veloso, who has always maintained her innocence claiming that human-traffickers duped her, has only been postponed while legal proceedings run their course in the Philippines.

    “We’re hoping to help save Mary Jane’s life, I think Mary Jane is a victim of human-trafficking,” Pacquiao said after visiting the single mother of two young children in Wirogunan prison on the main island of Java.

    During a 30-minute meeting, Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee prayed with Veloso. The convict broke down in tears as she prayed, a government official who witnessed the meeting told reporters, and at one point tightly embraced the boxing star.

    They swapped gifts, with Veloso giving Pacquiao a blue scarf emblazoned with his nickname “Pacman,” and the boxer giving her money. Prison officials, however, said they would keep the money for her as it was against the rules for inmates to have cash. They did not say how much it was.

    Pacquiao, who was in Indonesia to film a television advert, was also hoping to raise her case with President Joko Widodo during a visit to the capital Jakarta later on Friday.

    Her case attracted huge attention in both Indonesia and the Philippines, with near daily rallies of support and celebrities urging Jakarta to show her mercy.

    Pacquiao is an international star who last made global headlines in May when he was beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas in what was dubbed “the fight of the century”.

    Widodo has vowed there will be no clemency for drug traffickers on death row as Indonesia is facing an “emergency” because of rising narcotics use.

    Seven other foreign drug convicts and one Indonesian were executed as planned on the prison island of Nusakambangan in late April, sparking an international outcry.


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    1. Pacquiao’s giving money to Mary Jane truly exhibits his poor understanding of the law, because convicts who are admitted into prison have to have all their belongings surrendered to the prison authorities for safe keeping, this act is to avoid having a prisoner get into the facility with a ‘contraband’ – goods that are possessed contrary to law or rule, as in a prison or school. The possession of such a contraband especially money, can lead to a convict to bribing a prison official.

      And, It was like the official document that he signed in Nevada, attesting he has no injury, and after the fight which he lost, revealed that he was injured, in rule of law the act should be perjury – the offence of wilfully telling an untruth.

      Should he have the true intentions to help financially the family of Mary Jane, it does not take much effort to give it directly to the family in Philippines where they reside. He is better off just being a plain boxer or businessman, than to be a lawmaker who knows nothing about the rule of law and how it applies to the people it should serve.

    2. Roldan Guerrero on

      Anong PAEKEK na naman ito Mr. Pacquiao? If you are really committed to help the needy, you should better establish a foundation to help the poor. You can do it better by not creating so much publicity to attain your “POLITICAL AMBITIONS” You will be more loved by your fans like me if you do it silently. You should refrain and avoid politics. POLITICS DOES NOT FIT YOU AND VICE VERSA! Cant you accept that a grade 4 grade school finisher is not fit to any political seat? Do you think being so rich is enough passport for you to run for and elective post? You are very rich, but take note that money cant buy everything. What have you done as a congressman? Are you proud to be the No.1 absentee in Congess? Do you think making Lawmaking job is rightful to claim as your part time job? MR. MANNY PACQUIAO, my IDOL BOXER, you will gain more respect if you try to learn how to embrace the truth…..Please do me a favor my idol boxer….PLEASE AVOID SPEAKING ENGLISH, magtagalogka nalang po para maintindihan namin ang gusto mong sabihin!