DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Filipino migrant group Migrante International prayed the Supreme Court to allow Mary Jane Veloso to testify against her recruiters and prove that she’s only a victim of human trafficking.
The group appeal as the last hearing for the human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa cases filed against Veloso’s recruiters Ma. Cristina P. Sergio and Julius Lacanilao will be held at the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) set on Sept. 26.
Migrante, in a statement on Friday, asked the SC to uphold Veloso’s right to present her testimony through a written deposition, “the only mode allowed by Indonesian authorities”.
“As a victim of human trafficking, it is incumbent that Mary Jane Veloso be allowed to participate in the legal process as it is the only way for the judicial authorities to accord her the chance to see that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Migrante International said.
“It is the major function of the criminal justice system to ensure that victims like Mary Jane Veloso obtain redress through judicial procedures,” it added.
Last year, the parents of Veloso filed a petition before the SC to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals which disallowed their daughter from giving a testimony in deposition.
“Languishing in prison for almost a decade, Mary Jane Veloso is currently being made to pay for a crime she did not commit,” Migrante lamented.
In a report from Inquirer, Veloso’s lawyer, Atty. Edre Olalia, of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) also “fervently” hoped that the SC would allow Veloso to testify against her recruiters.
Veloso was sentenced to death after being arrested by Indonesian authorities for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin hidden in her luggage in 2010. But she insisted that she was only duped by her recruiters.
She was set to be executed by firing squad on 2015, but was granted a last-minute temporary reprieve by the Indonesian government after being informed by Philippine authorities of the surrender of Veloso’s recruiters.
“The plight of migrants wretched by government negligence and inaction is epitomized in the life of Mary Jane Veloso herself. May the Supreme Court rise to the occasion and bring deliverance to Mary Jane who walks through the valley of the shadow of death on a daily basis. She is still on death row and the time to save her life is now,” Migrante said. (davaotoday.com)