Mary Jane Veloso camp rues CA injunction vs. deposition
The camp of Filipino death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso on Thursday expressed disappointment at the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to prevent her from spilling the beans on her recruiters who allegedly tricked her into transporting illegal drugs in Indonesia.
"The bottom line is: how in heaven's name can we get to hear the side of a fellow compatriot who is behind bars and waiting in death row in a foreign land and who cannot come home for said purpose?" said National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia in a text message.
Veloso's testimony was supposed to be gathered on April 27 in Yogyakarta prison but the CA 11th Division came out last March with a temporary restraining order (TRO) whose validity was extended through a preliminary injunction issued on May 22.
The CA action stemmed from the petition filed by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), counsel for Veloso's recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, who said the deposition was against the constitutional right of the accused.
The PAO cited Section 14 paragraph 2 of the Bill of Rights, which gives, among others, an accused the right to a speedy, impartial, and public trial and meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence.
Olalia said Veloso's recruiters invoked "what may be deemed esoteric and archaic legal argumentation under the peculiarities of the case."
"The recruiters assert that they want to confront her in person yet they themselves oppose and put all roadblocks every step of the way to make this happen," he said.
Veloso's camp described her situation as unique "that calls for judicial equity, if not flexibility."
"Indeed, it warrants common sense or basic empathy," Olalia said.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad in April 2015, but Indonesian authorities agreed to hold off the execution so she could testify in the case against her recruiters in the Philippines. —KG, GMA News