DAVAO CITY – The execution of Filipina human trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso has been delayed by the Indonesian government.
“It is with utmost jubilance that we announce to all Filipinos and supporters here in the Philippines and around the world that the Indonesian government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence on our kababayan Mary Jane Veloso until all proceedings in the Philippines is finished,” said Migrante International in a statement posted to its website.
Migrante whose staff were with Veloso’s family members when news broke out, said “(t)he whole Filipino nation and the world now cry tears of joy but, collectively, with peoples of other nationalities, we rage against the injustice done to Mary Jane. We will continue to fight for justice for Mary Jane, justice for all migrant workers and justice for the Filipino people.”
Migrante said “Aquino and his government did too little, too late for Mary Jane.”
“If not for national and international pressure and censure, Aquino would not have been compelled to take urgent action,” said Migrante whose other members stayed in vigil in the Indonesian Embassy in Makati.
Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo, quoted in news reports said “This delay did not cancel the execution. We just want to give chance in relation with the legal process in the Philippines.”
Prasetyo said the execution of Veloso was delayed “because there was a last-minute plea from the Philippine President. There was someone who surrendered today. She claimed she was the one who recruited Mary Jane.”
Migrante said Aquino did a last-minute suggestion of turning Mary Jane into a witness against those who are involved in her case.
But Migrante said Aquino lied when asked when he said that the suggestion was late because “details of the case came into light only in the last few days” and that Mary Jane “did not cooperate at first.”
“Because of government neglect and passivity, Aquino had placed Mary Jane on the brink of death,” said Migrante.
In social media, activists also warned Aquino of taking credit for the suspension of Mary Jane’s execution as they are still out “to demand for his accountability.
An online petition by church group Promotion of Church People’s Response nearly reached 189,664 as of Wedneday morning and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao made a video appeal to Indonesian President Jiko Widodo to save Mary Jane.
PCPR and Migrante partners also massed-up in Indonesian Consulate in Makati and Davao while their Indonesian partners were also outside Widodo’s residence.
PCPR also urged a text barrage of its appeal to Prasetyo.
Veloso with other nine convicts were waiting to be executed despite pleadings from the international community and strong messages from their governments.
The eight executed are Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from Australia, Martin Anderson, Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudily Oyantze from Nigeria, Rodrigo Gularte from Brazil and Zaenal Abidin from Indonesia.
In Davao City, progressive groups Bayan and Migrante rallied outside the Indonesian Consulate to appeal for Veloso’s life.
“Please tell your President, bring him our words. We are to appeal for the life of Mary Jean Veloso to be spared because we know it’s our own president to blame,” said Bayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Sheena Duazo.
Duazo said the Philippine government “never made a move for five years, as Veloso was convicted since 2010.”
Duazo said “Mary Jane is a symbol how the government neglected its people.”
Salma Lumandong, a member of Migrante in Davao City, who has two sisters and a daughter working in the Middle East, said “the Filipino people have no leader. This is a shame for the government, for the President.”
“My two sisters have been there for more than a decade and my daughter, who graduated her college degree here despite the difficulties, cannot find a job so she decided to also go there,” she said.
Lumandong said her daughter was assaulted by an Arab national while working for a cake design company and another sister is now in Manila as her employer tried to rape her.
“We Filipinos are sometimes happy if a relative goes abroad because they can help us. But my daughter can’t as her salary is only enough to sustain her,” she said.
Lumandong said her daughter is earning P18, 000 but P10, 000 of it is for rent and the rest is for food and other needs.
“But if she stayed here, she will earn nothing,” she said.
Lumandong said “If I were the President, I would’ve killed myself if I cannot take care of my people such as Mary Jane.”
Meanwhile, Migrante said the government must be transparent on how many more Filipinos are on death row abroad.
In reports, figures range from 80 to as high as more than 120. (davaotoday.com)