MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Friday responded to Mary Jane Veloso’s mother who denied claims that the government saved the Filipino migrant from execution.
Speaking to reporters in Naga City in Cebu, Aquino said the government did everything to spare Veloso’s life.
“We did what we could. We were not involved in the creation of the problem. You must remember she was arrested, if I am not mistaken, April of 2010,” Aquino said.
He enumerated the government efforts to save Veloso such as the appeals to Indonesian foreign ministers, the attorney general and President Joko Widodo.
Aquino said the government also provided legal counsels to Veloso and brought her family to Indonesia.
“What more can the government do?” he asked.
Veloso’s execution was canceled on Wednesday after Aquino proposed to the Indonesian government that Veloso be made a witness against the drug syndicate that duped her into smuggling heroin.
Veloso’s mother Celia, who returned to the country this morning, aired her grievances towards the government and criticized Aquino for supposedly grabbing credit for her daughter’s reprieve.
She said the Aquino administration has been fooling them.
“Sinabi niya na ibinabalita na niya sa buong mundo na sa kanya nanggaling ang pagkabuhay ng anak ko kaya nakaligtas sa bitay, hindi po totoo ‘yun,” she said. “Kaya humanda kayo ngayon, nandito kami para lumaban sa inyo, haharapin namin kayo.”
Aquino refused to comment further on the statement of Veloso’s mother.
He only assured that the government will continue helping her daughter.
“Hahabulin natin kung hanggang saan umabot yung ebidensiya para maprosecute yung mga nagkasala at in that sense, baka para maituro na rin yung other linkages,” he said.
Aquino said Veloso may even be saved from the death row if she cooperates with the government.
“Baka we might get hints. We might be able to capture them or other members of the syndicate. And if Mary Jane becomes very very helpful in the process, well that might be a basis for extending some clemency,” Aquino said.