Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Robredo: We must keep Mary Jane’s welfare in mind

Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday said the government and the Filipino people "must keep" in mind the welfare of Mary Jane Veloso.
In a statement, Robredo said the Filipina's case "is emblematic of the hardships faced by millions of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers)."
Veloso was arrested at the Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia in 2010 after authorities found 2.6 kilograms of heroin inside the lining of her baggage. She was subsequently found guilty of the crime, which is punishable by death.
The Philippine government appealed for her case twice, and former President Benigno Aquino III eventually requested for her reprieve, asking that she be turned into a witness to identify the criminal group that used her to transport illegal drugs. 
"We must keep her welfare in mind, along with the welfare of all OFWs, as they remain under our government's protection and support despite working overseas," Robredo said in her statement.
The Vice President issued the statement in light of a Jakarta Post report quoting Indonesian President Joko Widodo as saying that President Rodrigo Duterte "has given the go-ahead" to Veloso's execution. 
In her statement, Robredo noted how Filipinos rallied behind Veloso, who was spared from her scheduled execution in April 2015. 
"A year ago, the Filipino nation came together in prayer and unit to appeal to the Indonesian government to spare Mary Jane's life. Our prayers were answered when she was given a reprieve, and as one nation, she rejoiced," she said. 
With this, Robredo said the Jakarta Post report "comes as a terrible shock," and said she shares the concern of many Filipinos on the matter.
"We trust that the administration will immediate shed light on this report to address the understandable concern of so many of us Filipinos," she said, adding her hopes that the government can also "take appropriate action" on this. 
No Duterte green light
But Malacañang has denied the Jakarta Post report. 
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte had no categorical statement giving a green light to the execution. He said Duterte told Widodo, "Follow your own laws. I will not interfere."
In a separate statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs tagged Jakarta Post's headline as "erroneous," with Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. maintaining that the execution "has been indefinitely deferred."
For his part, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the Jakarta Post article was a "spin," quoting Yasay as saying that the President "even asked for a thorough review of the case in the Indonesian court." — RSJ, GMA News

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