DFA asks Jakarta for clemency for the OFW on death row for drug case
The Marcos administration has appealed for executive clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino worker who has been on death row for 12 years in Indonesia over drug-related charges, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a video message Tuesday from Singapore.
“Our Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo appealed for executive clemency for Ms. Mary Jane Veloso,” she said, following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s three-day state visit in Indonesia.
This is the third time that the Philippines has sought clemency for Veloso – first in 2010 and another in 2015.
Manalo met with his counterpart, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, during the sidelines of Mr. Marcos’ state visit before he left for Singapore yesterday.
“According to Minister Marsudi, they will file and refer our appeal to their Ministry of Justice,” Cruz-Angeles said.
Veloso’s parents had earlier written to President Marcos, asking him to seek executive clemency for their daughter.
In the letter, Cesar and his wife Celia said they were grateful that the Indonesian government suspended her execution, but would be “more thankful” if their daughter is brought home “in the soonest possible time.”
They maintained that their daughter was innocent, and her only intention was to go abroad to give her children a decent life.
Veloso was found guilty of carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin when she was arrested at the Yogyakarta airport in 2010.
However, Veloso denied she was a drug courier, saying she was tricked by her Filipino recruiter into bringing a drug-laden suitcase to Indonesia.
The Indonesian government ordered a stay in her execution in 2015 and turned her into a witness. Then-President Benigno Aquino III personally talked to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to plead on Veloso’s case and grant her clemency at the sidelines of a summit that year.
Cruz-Angeles added the Department of Foreign Affairs has been providing consular assistance to Veloso since the time of her arrest twelve years ago.
“Our embassy continues to provide consular services to Ms. Veloso. According to them, she is in good condition at the Wonosari Women’s Penitentiary in Yogyakarta. She was also provided with a lawyer according to Indonesian law,” the Palace official added.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, Mr. Marcos met with members of the Filipino community at the auditorium of the National University of Singapore.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople conveyed the message of the Singaporean Ministry of Health that they are hiring more Filipino healthcare workers due to the dedication and professionalism they bave shown during the pandemic.
“It was the Government of Singapore who reached out to us – they were asking for additional Filipino health workers because they are very amazed at our workers during the pandemic. That’s why tomorrow, one of the [agreements] to be signed will be a joint communication with the Ministry of Health [of Singapore],” Ople said.
Mr. Marcos was visibly elated with the news.
“That’s how high our friends the Singaporeans here in Singapore look to all of you… Singaporeans will look for, not only nurses, but also from the aviation service and engineers.” he said.
“Until the day comes that jobs are completed in the Philippines, we’ll have a chance to showcase our talents, skills, hard work and kindness to our overseas workers,” he added.
Mr. Marcos will have separate meetings with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before he returns to Manila today (Wednesday).