By MARK MERUEÑAS
June 29, 2015 6:48pm
Mary Jane Veloso’s family has expressed fear that the Filipino on Indonesia’s death row might again be scheduled for execution after the Muslim observance of Ramadan ends in the middle of July, if the Philippine government fails to resolve in time the cases against her alleged recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
“Ipu-push namin sa Department of Justice na madaliin na ang kaso kasi nag-aalala kami na itong pagkatapos ng Ramadan, maga-announce na ang Indonesia ng mga bibitayin uli. Ayaw naman namin mapasama si Mary Jane doon,” said Veloso’s sister Maritess Veloso.
“Kapag hindi nila minadali ito, kapag nag-announce sila, baka kasama na si Mary Jane doon,” added, Maritess, who joined a Thanksgiving Mass at the Ermita Catholic Church in Manila to express gratitude for Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve two months ago.
Maritess Veloso (third from right), sister of OFW Mary Jane Veloso, marks the second month since her sister got a temporary reprieve from the Indonesian government. Maritess on Monday express fears Mary Jane might be sent back to the death row after Ramadan if the cases against her illegal recruiters in Manila don’t get resolved soon. Mark Merueñas
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo officiated the concelebrated mass.
Maritess said the family will raise their concerns over the pending cases when they meet with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima at the DOJ main office in Manila on July 2.
Ramadan started last June 18 and will end on July 17.
Maritess said their lawyers informed them it was customary in Indonesia for the government to make announcements involving their inmates after Ramadan.
Veloso was supposed to have been executed by firing squad on April 29, but the execution was postponed to allow her to testify against her alleged illegal recruiters in the Philippines.
Veloso was convicted of sneaking 2.6 kilos of heroin into Indonesia from Malaysia in April 2010. Two of her alleged recruiters were eventually sued before the Department of Justice for estafa, human trafficking,and illegal recruitment.
But almost a month after the the preliminary investigation wrapped up, the complaints have yet to be resolved. Maritess feared the Indonesian government, especially its attorney general, might grow “impatient” over the slow resolution of the cases.
“Kahit sabihin natin matapang at buo ang loob niya, siyempre gusto pa rin niyang makauwi. So kahit papaano, kahit sino lumagay sa katayuan niya may takot na mararamdaman. Siguro nagwo-worry siya na baka mainip [ang Indonesian government],” said Maritess.
Maritess said she last spoke with her sister in Indonesia over the weekend. Maritess said Mary Jane was in good condition, and would always ask for updates on the cases against Sergio and Lacanilao.
Maritess said her sister is able to regularly call them through a pay phone inside the prison facility. Maritess said Mary Jane uses her own money, which comes from the sales of knitted bags that she makes while in prison, to pay for the phone calls.
Joining Maritess in the thanksgiving mass were members of the “Church Task Force to Save the Life of Mary Jane.” The group’s spokesman, Nardy Sabino, said that for the last two months, his group has been urging the public to sign an online petition seeking to spare Veloso’s life once and for all.
The group hopes to gather 500,000 signatures before sending the petition to Indonesian President Joko Widodo. They have so far gathered more than 430,000 signatures, said Sabino. —NB, GMA News
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