No meeting between Duterte, Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia –PHL envoy
There will be no meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and convicted Filipina drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso during his visit to Indonesia on Thursday, according to GMA News' Joseph Morong, citing Philippine Ambassador Maria Lumen Isleta.
However, Duterte, who will be coming from Laos where he attended the ASEAN Summit, would meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in which he is expected to raise Veloso's case.
Duterte is expected to leave Laos for Indonesia early Thursday evening.
Ahead of his working visit to Indonesia, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) urged Duterte to "prudently point out" to Widodo the fact that Veloso "was exploited by an international drug syndicate for a criminal purpose — of which she had no knowledge and for which she is being made to pay with her own dear life."
"For Mary Jane's family and for us, the President's plea will be a plea not only for mercy but also for justice," said NUPL secretary general Edre Olalia, who is also Veloso's lawyer, in a statement.
Veloso was sentenced to death in Indonesia for possessing 2.6 kilograms of heroin upon her arrival there in 2010. Her execution by firing squad was put on hold last year to allow her to testify against the recruiters who allegedly duped her into bringing the contraband to Indonesia.
"Mary Jane's life and freedom will be the greatest vindication for her toxic sufferings as a victim of human trafficking," Olalia said, adding Veloso should be allowed to give her testimony so she can tell her side of the story.
"Pres. Duterte, we believe, is in the best position to take up Mary Jane's cause, for it is only fitting for a leader with such a hard stance on the infectious drug menace to ask compassion for one of its unwitting victims," Olalia said. —KBK, GMA News