Court convicts domestic worker Mary Jane Veloso’s traffickers in separate case

A court in Nueva Ecija today convicted the traffickers of Mary Jane Veloso — the former domestic worker jailed in Indonesia on drug charges — of illegal recruitment in connection with a different case involving three other women.

Baloc, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 today sentenced Maria Christina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao to life imprisonment, and fined them a total of PHP2 million (US$39,285), Rappler reports. The two were convicted over the illegal recruitment of victims Lorna Valino, Ana Marie Gonzales, and Jenalyn Paraiso.

Read: Mary Jane Veloso: How a 30-year-old Filipina ended up on death row in Indonesia

Private prosecutor Edre Olalia said that the conviction would strengthen Veloso’s own trafficking case, which she filed against the two.

“While legally separate and distinct, this bolsters our case that Mary Jane is herself a victim,” Olalia told GMA News. “[The] only difference is that unlike the three other victims, she actually proceeded and left for abroad and met her misfortune.”

The case which Veloso filed against Sergio and Lacanilao couldn’t progress because the former domestic worker was initially prohibited by the Court of Appeals to testify against her recruiters. The Supreme Court eventually sided with Veloso, but the case is still pending because Sergio and Lacanilao have filed appeals.

Veloso has claimed that the two offered her a job in Malaysia, but once she arrived there, she was told that the job was no longer available. She was told to go to Indonesia instead, with Sergio allegedly giving her a piece of luggage containing 2.5 kilograms of heroin, ABS-CBN reports.

Veloso was sentenced to death in 2010 and was supposed to be executed in 2015 but it was postponed because the Philippine government convinced Indonesia that her testimony could be used against her traffickers.


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