By XIANNE ARCANGEL
June 10, 2015 5:44pm
The sister of Mary Jane Veloso on Wednesday made a tearful appeal to government officials to save the Filipina convict from death row, saying the 30-year-old single mother has suffered enough in the last five years.
At the hearing of the House committee on overseas affairs on her sister’s case, Maritess Veloso-Laurente broke down in tears as she reminded lawmakers that Mary Jane remains in danger of being executed.
Ang pamilya po namin ay nakikiusap po sana na yung aming nararanasan ay….” Maritess said, with her voice cracking. “..Ay hindi na maranasan ng iba pang pamilya. Dahil napakasakit po.”
“Nabigyan lang ng reprieve si Mary Jane… sana patuloy ang gobyerno sa pagtulong at huwag nilang tigilan hanggat di nakakauwi ang kapatid ko. Tama na ang limang taong pagdurusa niya nang wala naman siyang kasalanan,” she said.
Mary Jane was convicted by an Indonesian court in 2010 after she was caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin. The illegal durgs were stuffed inside a luggage she was asked to bring to Indonesia from Malaysia. Her execution, scheduled last April 29, was called off after she was granted a temporary reprieve by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Aside from saving Mary Jane from execution, Maritess also appealed to government officials to help other Filipinos who are on death row.
“Huwag na sana natin hintayin na maging huli na kagaya nang nangyari kay Mary Jane, kung kailan last minute na saka tayo maghahabol,” she said.
In response, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary of Migrant Workers’ Affairs Jesus Yabes assured lawmakers and the Velosos that the government remains committed to helping Mary Jane by focusing on the legal proceedings against her alleged recruiter, Maria Cristina Sergio.
“At this point, the Department [of Foreign Affairs] intends to focus on pending legal proceedings in the Philippines against Mary Jane’s alleged recruiters, upon which the decision to commute her sentence or grant her clemency depend,” he said.
Sergio and her live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao, have been charged with illegal recruitment in connection with Veloso’s case. The two have denied the charges but are currently detained at the Nueva Ecija provincial jail. — RSJ, GMA News
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