The family of Mary Jane Veloso on Friday denied the claims of the Aquino government on its role in saving the detained Filipina from execution in Indonesia.
Veloso’s mother Celia in a press briefing in Quezon City slammed the government for taking the credit on the last-minute reprieve granted by the Indonesian government to her daughter.
“Ngayon ay nandito na kami sa Pilipinas ay marami kaming sisingilin sa gobyerno (Now that we’re back in the Philippines, the government has a lot to account to us),” she said.
“Sabi nila sa kanila nanggaling kung bakit hindi natuloy ang bitay ng anak ko. Hindi totoo ’yon (They said it was through their efforts that my daughter was given a reprieve. That’s not true).”
She said the government lied to the people on its role in saving Veloso.
“Until now, they’re making a fool of us. We thought the government worked hard to save my daughter,” she said in Filipino.
The older Veloso also hit the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for their inaction and for hiding them from the media while they were in Indonesia.
“DFA tried to keep us away from the media. We had a hard time. We wanted to talk to the media but we’re not allowed. We wanted to thank the president of Indonesia but we couldn’t do it.”
She lamented about the government’s inaction on her daughter’s case.
“Matagal na panahon na natulog ang kaso ng anak ko (My daughter’s case has been pending for a long time),” she said.
According to Connie Regalado of Migrante, they asked the DFA for pertinent documents regarding Veloso’s case before heading to Indonesia but the agency failed to give it to them.
“We had a hard time getting the documents,” Regalado said. “Paulit-ulit na request (We requested several times).”
She said they were only given a timeline on Veloso’s case.
“Everything was kept by the Indonesian lawyers and still in Bahasa. So since 2010, there was no translation,” she added.
According to Regalado, the government has been silent about Veloso’s case and it is only now that they are looking into it.
“For the last five years they were quiet,” she said. “Itinago ang kaso ni Mary Jane (Kept us in the dark on the case of Mary Jane).”
She said even the Filipino community in Indonesia was shocked a case like Veloso’s existed.
According to Edre Olalia, Veloso has submitted an affidavit to the Philippine and Indonesian government recognizing him as her private lawyer.
Olalia also said there would be a video conference on Monday with his Indonesian lawyer counterparts to verify the terms of Veloso’s temporary reprieve.
He quoted Veloso’s Indonesian lawyers as saying, “If you came in earlier, we could have done more.”
The lawyer said a lot of time that had gone to waste could have been spent on saving Veloso.
“Malaking panahon ang nasayang,” he said.
Olalia said the group helping Veloso was not after the credit.
“We are not here to grab credit,” he said. “We are here to save a life.”
He appealed to the Indonesian government to let Veloso tell her story.
“Let her tell her story before rushing into judgment,” he said, citing Veloso was a victim of human and drug trafficking.
On behalf of the Velosos, Celia thanked the Filipino public for their support and love for her daughter.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga pari, teacher, kabataan na sumusuporta sa anak ko at sa mga nasa ibang bansa (We thank the priests, teachers, youth and people abroad for supporting my daughter),” she said.
“Kung hindi sa inyong tulong ay hindi ko alam at baka nawalan na ako ng bunso (If it weren’t for your help, I don’t know. I might have lost my daughter).”
She said the family was relieved when they learned of the temporary reprieve but acknowledged that their battle was not over yet.
“Parang nabunutan kami ng tinik na ligtas ang anak ko,” she said.
The family arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday morning after visiting Veloso in Indonesia. AU/RC
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