Even behind bars, Mary Jane Veloso still provides for her family
Despite being on death row in Indonesia, Mary Jane Veloso is still helping provide for her family in the Philippines, according to Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Aleli Bawagan, who visited Veloso at Wirogunan prison early this month.
"Even if she is in prison, she is still able to send money to her family," said Bawagan in her report to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, citing her conversation with Veloso during her visit on November 10 and 11.
Bawagan said Veloso sent for her sibling's "medical expenses" a portion of the $2,000 given to her by famous Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao during his visit to her in 2015 when he was a congressman. Pacquiao won as senator in the 2016 elections.
"She also washes clothes of other inmates and sells some of her batik and crochet so she can get some cash which she also sends to her family," Bawagan said.
Veloso has two children living in Nueva Ecija with her parents.
Bawagan said during their conversation, Veloso was able to relate to her her daily activities in prison. She said she learned that Veloso slept in a cell with eight other women, and wakes up at 5 a.m. every day.
For recreation, Bawagan said Veloso plays volleyball and even asked — and received — rubber shoes from the Philippine Embassy there.
Veloso, who was arrested in 2010 for carrying 2.6 kilos heroin at the Yogyakarta Airport, has also learned how to speak Bahasa and would spend her free time making batik.
Bawagan said Veloso's housemother lauded her for providing "hope to other inmates" despite being on death row.
"I initially thought that she might be depressed after being imprisoned for almost seven years now," Bawagan noted. "[But] she is always smiling and is able to provide positive energy to other inmates. She is also focused on her family"
"Of course she is hurting, but the regular talks with a priest and a seminarian help her. At this moment, she only wants justice for her case and to be with her family," Bawagan added.
The Filipina was also briefed on the aid dispensed by the government to her family and the progress of her case on both days of Bawagan's visit.
Selbino Roberto Florencio Sambajon of the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta said Veloso will be given medical assistance after the visit due to her high cholesterol and the occasional numbness she feels in her arms.
Veloso has blamed her recruiter, Maria Cristina Sergio, for her ordeal. Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao are currently facing illegal recruitment charges before the Baloc Regional Trial Court Branch 88 in Nueva Ecija.
Veloso's execution was put on hold last year to allow her to testify against her alleged recruiters. —KBK, GMA News