CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Mary Jane Veloso abandoned by Philippine government

MANILA (UCAN): The family of Mary Jane Veloso, who has been languishing on Indonesia’s death row since a 2011 conviction for drug trafficking, decried what her father, Cesar, described as the Philippine government’s lack of concern about the notorious case.
 
Veloso was arrested in 2010 by Indonesian authorities after 2.6 kilogrammes of heroin were found inside her luggage on her arrival in Jakarta from Malaysia. She claimed to have been duped being a drug mule by two recruiters: Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. 
 
In 2011, the Indonesian Supreme Court sentenced Veloso to death, but she was granted a reprieve after human trafficking charges were filed against Sergio and Lacanilao. 
 
However, on 13 December 2017, the Philippine Court of Appeals barred her from submitting her crucial testimony. The Veloso family filed a new petition with the Philippine Supreme Court on September 3 to secure her deposition against her alleged recruiters. 
 
Her father and children will join an “interfaith mission for solidarity and service” with migrants and refugees in Jakarta, and hope to obtain global support for their appeal to have her testimony heard to back criminal charges levelled against her recruiters in the Philippines. 
 
“We went to (the presidential palace) four times but the president never met us ... Mary Jane really wants to reveal what she knows about the drug syndicate but ... it seems the government does not want her to speak the truth,” Cesar Veloso said.
 
Arman Hernando, spokesperson for migrant group Migrante International, called on the Philippine government to highlight Veloso’s case the war on drugs being waged by the president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 
“This is our chance to point out that victims like Mary Jane deserve support from the government and must not be treated as criminals,” Hernando pointed out.
 
Rebecca Lawson, of the Church Task Force to Save Mary Jane, said they would “pray for a miracle that the country’s leaders will take pity on Mary Jane and see her as someone who really deserves clemency.

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