FILIPINO domestic helper Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia, remained calm even after she was officially informed on Saturday that she would be executed on Tuesday, April 28, along with nine others in Nusakambangan maximum security prison island in Java.
Lawyer Minnie Lopez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers said Veloso was informed of her execution date on Saturday morning.
Despite the sad news, Veloso was calm and spent two hours with her parents, siblings and two sons, said NUPL secretary-general Edre Olalia, who accompanied the Veloso family to the prison.
“Mary Jane (is) incredibly strong, calm and composed. She [told] family not to feel sad and is buoying their spirits. Little boys (are) playful with their mom. Father and Mom (were) initially broken but regained composure. Sisters showed intense affinity with each other,” Olalia said in a text message.
According to Olalia’s message as of 2:40 p.m. Saturday (Philippine Time), Mary Jane “maintains absolute innocence.”
“She may die, but she firmly maintains she was a victim. Sends out four handwritten letters,” Olalia said.
According to Olalia, Mary Jane discussed details of her case with Olalia and other Filipino lawyers, who “[noticed] wide gaps in chain of custody of subject luggage from Malaysia to Indonesia that were all opportunities for placing or planting of heroin without her knowledge.”
Veloso was arrested in 2010 at the Yogyakarta Airport after authorities found 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her luggage. The Philippine government and her private lawyers have appealed that the Indonesian authorities review her case, but the plea was denied.
“She is happy that a second judicial review was filed and that all efforts are being made to save her,” Olalia said.
“Prison guards and officials (are) very nice to Mary Jane and vouch for her amiable, thoughtfulness and bubbly personality,” Olalia said, adding that another rounds of visits are being prepared on Sunday and Monday “for longer time till 4 p.m.”
“Today’s visit (is) short because she is still in semi-isolation.”