President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. skipped mentioning the case of Filipino domestic helper Mary Jane Veloso during his meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta Monday.
Instead, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo pleaded for executive clemency for Veloso during his meeting with his counterpart, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Veloso has been convicted for drug trafficking in October 2010. She was scheduled for execution on April 9, 2015, but on last minute, Widodo ordered the stay of her execution after receiving a call from then President Benigno Aquino III.
“Foreign Minister Marsudi said she would consult the Ministry of Justice on the matter,” the Office of the Press Secretary quoted the DFA as saying.
Widodo, like former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, has waged a war against drugs. Two months after being sworn into office in 2015, Widodo declared a state of emergency on drugs and ordered the execution of 14 people for drug-related offenses. Among the 14 convicts, only Veloso was given a stay of execution.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople had earlier said the case is “very sensitive” and is leaving it up to the DFA to explore all diplomatic efforts to save the Filipino domestic helper from the death row.
The OPS said the DFA has been providing consular assistance to Veloso.
“The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta has retained the services of an Indonesian law firm to serve as legal counsel of Ms. Veloso in accordance with Indonesian laws and procedure. It is also in regular contact with Ms. Veloso in coordination with Indonesian authorities,” it added.
DFA also assured that Veloso “was in relatively good health” at the Wonosari Women’s Penitentiary in Yogyakarta, where she is currently detained.
Image credits: Bernard Testa