DFA chief discussed Mary Jane Veloso case with Indonesian counterpart: Palace

·Contributor
·2 min read
Women's rights activists hold a candlelight vigil in Manila on September 13, 2016, calling to save Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso who is facing execution in Indonesia. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said September 12 that his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, gave him the go ahead to execute a Filipina maid on death row whose plight has garnered huge support. The Philippines denied the claim, saying Duterte had simply pledged to respect whatever the outcome of Indonesia's judicial process. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (PHOTO: NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Women's rights activists hold a candlelight vigil in Manila on September 13, 2016, calling to save Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso who is facing execution in Indonesia. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said September 12 that his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, gave him the go ahead to execute a Filipina maid on death row whose plight has garnered huge support. The Philippines denied the claim, saying Duterte had simply pledged to respect whatever the outcome of Indonesia's judicial process. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (PHOTO: NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo has discussed death row prisoner Mary Jane Veloso’s case with his Indonesian counterpart after calls from groups and the Filipina’s family to give Veloso clemency, Malacañang said.

In a press briefing on Monday (Sep 5), Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) “continues to look for solutions” although the agency is not in charge of “any decision making” on Veloso’s case.

“They’re very sensitive issues. As you know, it is a public matter that she has been convicted,” Cruz Angeles said.

“These matters, which may have an effect on our international relations, must be coursed first for its messaging with the DFA,” she added.

The secretary further said that she cannot confirm yet if President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. brought up Veloso’s case during his closed-door meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“The President wants us to speak with one voice and in matters of international relations or even in relation to the status of Filipinos working abroad and possibly in conflict with the law,” she said.

Marcos meanwhile did not mention Veloso in his statement after the meeting.

Veloso has been on Indonesia’s death row for the past 12 years after being arrested in 2010 and convicted of drug trafficking in 2015 – a charge which she has denied saying her luggage which contained 2.6 kilograms of heroin was only given to her by her recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.

Her supposed execution via a firing squad in 2015 was postponed after her recruiters Sergio and Lacanilao surrendered to Philippine authorities.

Prior to Marcos Jr.’s departure, Mary Jane’s father Cesar Veloso called for Marcos to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to grant Veloso clemency.

Meanwhile, women’s rights group GABRIELA also called for Veloso’s immediate release through an appeal for clemency.

“President Marcos Jr. should exhaust all means to urgently free Mary Jane Veloso, a fellow Filipina whom the Philippine government has repeatedly failed in many regards — from being unable to provide decent job opportunities here in the country which forced her into the diaspora, to failing to bring her home to her family after she was victimized by illegal recruiters,” Gabriela secretary general Clarice Palce said in a statement Monday (Sep 5).

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.

Watch more videos on Yahoo: