MANILA, Philippines- Philippine government officials and various rights groups are on their last ditch to save overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia after she was transferred along with other nine foreign convicted drug smugglers in an execution island on Friday.
”All the means that are available to us, we are exhausting,” said Malacanang spokesperson Abigail Valte.
A group of Filipino lawyers who flew to Indonesia said Veloso’s private lawyers would file another petition for judicial review on her case, citing Veloso as victim of human trafficking.
Atty. Edre Olalia, secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, however said that “there is no announcement yet of date of execution.”
“Upon proposal of her Philippine private lawyers finally relayed to their Indonesian counterparts in their meeting yesterday in a posh Jakarta law office, and based on advise of foreign legal experts the former are in constant consultations with, and on running research and study by the NUPL legal team, an additional ground which should be highlighted is that she is primarily a human trafficking victim in the first place and, therefore, must be protected.
“In accordance with international and parallel local laws, she must not be penalized for any alleged crime which was integral and in connection with such human trafficking scheme, and must instead be repatriated back to the Philippines,” Olalia said in a statement.
“We sincerely ask Your Excellency for clemency to save her life. We believe that Mary Jane was a victim of large drug syndicates who take advantage of the unawareness, vulnerability and desperation of our people. We are pained that she has been meted the death penalty while the big true drug operators and syndicates go on with wild abandon,” also came the open letter from Filipino migrant rights group Migrante to Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo.
The Nusakambangan maximum security prison island in Java is the execution ground for drug convicts in Indonesia.
The convicts however are still given 72 hours notice before being executed by a firing squad.