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Miracles Still Do Happen_The Case of Mary Jane Veloso

April 29, 2015

Today, the country is rejoicing. Mary Jane Veloso, our countrywoman, one of the nine individuals convicted for drug related activities and sentenced to death by firing squad was spared from death yesterday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo gave her life temporary reprieve. The best thing that happened in favor of Mary Jane was the surrender of Veloso’s illegal recruiter. There is no warrant of arrest yet for her but she voluntarily went to the police station to seek protection and custody. She has been getting warnings and death threats according to her. Mary Jane will most probably be used as state witness to uncover or pinpoint the real culprits.

The story goes that she went to Malaysia because of an offer for employment by her recruiter cum godsister. But when she reached there, she was told that work would instead be in Indonesia. A luggage was handed to her to carry to Indonesia not knowing that more than two kgs of heroin were hidden in the luggage. It is owned by a Nigerian who was introduced to her by the recruiter. Trustful of the godsister, she agreed to carry it with her. She was caught, That was in 2010. Later, she was sentenced to death, and was scheduled to be executed between 5 pm and midnight yesterday along with eight others from Australia, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria.

But many believe that she is innocent; a victim of international drug syndicate, and that she was not given fair trial because of lack of good interpreters and lawyers. Since Saturday when the Indonesian authorities informed the Philippine government of the schedule of her execution, mass actions by migrant workers and sympathizers mounted, collective prayers of citizens, legal and political means were exhausted. Even Manny Pacquiao, who is fighting Floyd Mayweather come Sunday, Manila time, pleaded via a video message to the Indonesian President to give clemency to Mary Jane. It was Mary Jane’s sister who earlier asked Manny to help plead to Widodo seeing the support of the Indonesian people to Pacquiao in his fight against Mayweather.

But I think whatever people say, President Benigno Aquino III did a great job this time. I do not like him. I did not vote for him. I dislike his tendency to blame others, and his tactlessness when he blamed Mary Jane for being non-cooperative in the early stage of her case, saying that upon his return from Malaysia, and just hours before the scheduled execution time. But at least, I do acknowledge that he did something to save Mary Jane. Concerns and actions like this one may help save his dwindling popularity. How I wish he had shown the same concern in the Mamasapano incident where 44 SAF police were unjustly killed! But the President has to be consistent, from this time onwards. There are over 80 cases worldwide of Filipinos who are jailed for one reason or the other. The government’s quick moves and concerns for OFWs are crucial and essential to avoid similar scenarios as Mary Jane’s.

Click below to read the report of JEWEL TOPSFIELD http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/68118808/Last-minute-execution-reprieve-for-Mary-Jane-Veloso

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