Mary Jane Veloso

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Mary Jane Veloso
Born
Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso

(1985-01-10) January 10, 1985 (age 36)[1][2]
Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
OccupationDomestic worker
Criminal statusOn death row
Conviction(s)Drug trafficking (2010)
Criminal penaltyDeath penalty

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso is a Filipino woman who was arrested and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia. Her case, among others, sparked international attention towards Indonesia's capital punishment and drug prohibition laws.

Background[edit]

Veloso was born in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. She is the youngest of five siblings.[3] She dropped out in her first year of high school.[4][5][6] She and her husband married when she was around 17 years old but they later separated. They have two sons.[7] Prior to her arrest, in 2009, Veloso worked in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for about six months. Her father said that she left her job because her employer attempted to rape her.[8] She returned to her hometown and started a business peddling plastic containers, which unfortunately failed.[6]

Conviction[edit]

Veloso was arrested in Indonesia in April 2010 for smuggling 2.6 kilograms (5.7 lb) of heroin in a suitcase.[9] Throughout her trial, she maintained her innocence, claiming that she was duped into carrying the suitcase by her godsister, Maria Kristina Sergio, who convinced her to go to Indonesia after losing a job in Malaysia.[10][11][6] Her Indonesian lawyer, Agus Salim,[12] noted that during she did not have any lawyer or Tagalog translator during her interrogation, and during her sentencing, she was represented by a public defender but her courtroom interpreter was not licensed.[4]

Veloso was sentenced to death by the presiding judge in October 2010 in Yogyakarta's Sleman District Court, even though the prosecutor's verdict was a life sentence.[4] Even so, she was spared due to a moratorium on capital punishment enacted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. She was again scheduled to be executed in January 2015 after the election of Joko Widodo as President of Indonesia.[13]

She was scheduled to be executed in Nusa Kambangan together with the Bali Nine duo from Australia, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran; Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte; an Indonesian and four Nigerians at 1:00 AM WIB (2:00 AM PHT) on 29 April 2015.[14]

At midnight on 29 April 2015, Veloso was granted a stay of execution so she could act as a witness during the trial of her alleged human trafficker.[15] News of the reprieve came so close to the scheduled time of her execution that several news outlets reported erroneously that it had occurred. The front-page headline on one newspaper read "Death Came Before Dawn".[16] She was reprieved after reports that her trafficker had surrendered to the police, which had prompted Philippines President Benigno Aquino III to make a final appeal for clemency on the basis that her testimony could be invaluable in the prosecuting her alleged recruiter.[17] Veloso's alleged trafficker Maria Kristina Sergio, along with Sergio's live-in partner Julius Lacanilao and an African national tentatively identified as "Ike", will face charges of human trafficking, illegal recruiting and estafa (fraud).[18] Her mother believes Veloso was spared by a 'miracle';[19] the other eight prisoners scheduled for execution alongside her were executed by firing squad early on the morning of 29 April.[20]

According to The Jakarta Post, on 12 September 2016, Indonesia President Joko Widodo reported that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had authorized Veloso's execution.[21][22] However, on the same day, a Manila Bulletin article said that Manny Piñol, the Philippines Agriculture Secretary, said that Duterte had actually asked for clemency for Veloso.[23]

Veloso was still awaiting execution in her Indonesian prison cell on 19 June 2017.[24] In August 2016, motions were heard to depose her testimony regarding the human trafficking charges against Maria Kristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.The motion was granted, but no time was set for when the deposition was to occur. Judge Reyes denied a defense motion in November to block the deposition, stating she found no compelling reason to reverse her decision.[25] On 13 February 2017, the Hon. Anarica J. Castillo-Reyes affirmed the motion to take Veloso's deposition. The resolution scheduled the deposition to be done on 27 April 2017.[26] The Court of Appeals ordered a temporary restraining order on 24 March, preventing the prosecutor from interviewing Veloso.[27] Associate Justice Ramon M. Bato Jr., on behalf of the Court of Appeals, issued a proclamation on 22 May finding in favor of the defense motion that disallowed taking Veloso's deposition, because it was claiming that it violated the plaintiffs' right to face their accuser.[28]

On 16 June 2017, the Veloso family filed a motion for reconsideration through the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), asking the Court of Appeals to rescind the order preventing the prosecutor from deposing Veloso at the Yogyakarta prison. The family's argument for the motion was that Veloso may run out of time and be executed before she could testify. The motion stated, "No damage can be irreparable as what Mary Jane stands to suffer — to be muzzled before she is silenced forever, to die without ever being heard.”[24] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) also requested the Court of Appeals to reconsider their ruling.[29][30] The appeals court later affirmed their decision on 5 June 2018 through Bato, dismissing the motion filed by the OSG.[31]

On 3 September 2018, the Veloso family, along with their lawyers from the NUPL, took the case to the Philippine's highest court, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, in an attempt to overturn the decision made by the Court of Appeals.[32] In January 2019, rumors that Veloso had been executed spread, which were denied by both Indonesia's Attorney General's Office and her lawyer.[12] After more than a year, on 9 October 2019, the Supreme Court granted the petition and reversed the Court of Appeals' decision preventing Veloso's deposition, stating that "to disallow the written interrogatories will curtail Mary Jane’s right to due process".[33] After a denied motion filed by lawyers from the Public Attorney's Office representing Sergio and Lacanilao, the Supreme Court reaffirmed their 2019 decision in a resolution dated 14 August 2020.[34][35] Preparations for her testimony have begun, but a final date is yet to be set due to logistics issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had affected both the Philippines and Indonesia.[36][37]

On 10 March 2021, Veloso was moved from Wirogunan II A women's prison to Wonosari II B women's prison in Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta, where she continued to earn money to send for her family by making batik cloth, with each sheet selling for between Rp. 600.000,- and several million Rupiah.[38]

Impact[edit]

She has been compared to Flor Contemplacion and Sarah Balabagan due to their backgrounds as expatriate maids with death sentences.[39]

Veloso's case gained support in Indonesia and internationally after her appeals for clemency were rejected.[40] Notable Indonesians who supported her included chef Rahung Nasution,[41] French-Indonesian singer Anggun,[42] Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo,[43] and maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.[44] Supporters in Veloso's home country of the Philippines included boxer Manny Pacquiao,[45] who even visited her at her Yogyakarta prison,[46] migrant and human rights organizations. Internationally, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former East Timor President José Ramos-Horta, British tycoon Richard Branson, English musician Tony Iommi and American author Eve Ensler[47] spoke publicly in support of Veloso.

The petition for her release at Change.org was the fastest-growing petition from the Philippines ever and gained over 250,000 signatories from over 125 countries.[48] On 27 April 2015, during the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, representatives from the ASEAN Youth Forum met with Widodo in an attempt to save Veloso's life.[49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Philippine press caught out by last-minute execution reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Veloso family on Mary Jane's birthday: We want her home". Rappler. 11 January 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Fast Facts: The case of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso". Rappler. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Saptoyo, Rosy Dewi Arianti (7 April 2021). Nugroho, Rizal Setyo (ed.). "Profile of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, Narcotics Death Row Convict from the Philippines". Kompas (in Indonesian). Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ Lamb, Kate (30 April 2015). "Mary Jane Veloso: Why was she spared in the Indonesian executions?". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Orendain, Simon. "Suspended Execution Puts Spotlight on Trafficking". Voice of America News. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  7. ^ Lindsay Murdoch (28 April 2015). "Bali nine case: Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao plead for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso's life". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  8. ^ Joel Guinto, Agence France-Presse (8 April 2015). "Family of Mary Jane Veloso begs Indonesia for her life". GMA News Online. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  9. ^ "The inmates executed or spared by Indonesia". BBC News. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 30 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  10. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (27 April 2015). "NBI recommends prosecution of Veloso's recruiters". Inquirer News. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  11. ^ Bernal, Buena (2 April 2015). "The fate of Mary Jane Veloso". Rappler. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Indonesia denies rumors of Mary Jane Veloso's execution". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  13. ^ "UN chief to Indonesia: Spare Filipino, other prisoners". philstar.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  14. ^ Yenni Kwok (24 April 2015). "Philippines: Death-Row Inmate #MaryJane Trending in Indonesia". TIME.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
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  16. ^ Holmes, Oliver (28 April 2016). "Mary Jane Veloso: what happened to the woman who escaped execution in Indonesia?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  17. ^ Navarro, Louie (29 April 2015). "Veloso's execution suspended". CNN Philippines. CNN Philippines, Reuters. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
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  21. ^ "Duterte gave 'go-ahead' for Mary Jane Veloso's execution –report". gmanetwork.com. GMA Network. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Duterte has given the green light for Mary Jane's execution: Jokowi". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Piñol: Duterte asked for clemency on Veloso case". Manila Bulletin. 12 September 2016. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016.
  24. ^ a b Staff Writers (19 June 2017). "Veloso family asks CA to allow Mary Jane's deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  25. ^ Staff Writers (12 November 2016). "Court allows Veloso Deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  26. ^ Corrales, Nestor (25 February 2017). "Motion to take Veloso testimony granted". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  27. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (27 March 2017). "CA stops local court from taking Mary Jane Veloso's deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  28. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (24 May 2017). "CA stops Nueva Ecija court from taking deposition of Mary Jane Veloso". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  29. ^ Caliwan, Christopher Lloyd. "SolGen asks CA to allow Veloso testimony vs. recruiters". www.pna.gov.ph. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  30. ^ Aurelio, Julie M. (26 January 2018). "Mary Jane's family, groups ask CA: Allow her to testify". INQUIRER.net. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  31. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (8 June 2018). "Mary Jane Veloso cannot testify vs. her recruiters from her jail cell — CA". INQUIRER.net. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  32. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (3 September 2018). "Mary Jane Veloso's parents ask SC to let their daughter speak". INQUIRER.net. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  33. ^ Chiu, Jerome Aning, Patricia Denise M. (12 October 2019). "Supreme Court ruling raises hope for Mary Jane Veloso". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  34. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (14 August 2020). "It's final: Mary Jane Veloso can testify vs her recruiters". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  35. ^ Kravchuk, Max. "After Five Years, Mary Jane Veloso Finally Allowed To Tell Side Of Her Story, But…". OneNews.ph. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  36. ^ Galang, Armand (18 August 2020). "Lawyers start preparing Veloso deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 24 August 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  37. ^ Kravchuk, Max. "After Five Years, Mary Jane Veloso Finally Allowed To Tell Side Of Her Story, But…". OneNews.ph. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  38. ^ Rachmawati, ed. (7 April 2021). "Timeline of Mary Jane's Case, Death Row Convict from the Philippines, Currently Spending Time Making Batik in Yogyakarta Prison". Kompas (in Indonesian). Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  39. ^ Nicole Curato (28 April 2015). "An endless funeral". Rappler. Rappler. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  40. ^ "Supporters claim Mary Jane Veloso is victim of human trafficking". NewsComAu. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  41. ^ "Indonesian celebrities, netizens decry looming execution of Veloso". inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  42. ^ "Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina". thenational.ae. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  43. ^ "Indonesia, the haste of capital punishment worries the Church". vaticaninsider.lastampa.it. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  44. ^ Yenni Kwok (27 April 2015). "Indonesia Set to Execute Foreign Drug Smugglers Early Wednesday". TIME.com. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  45. ^ "Pacquiao begs Indonesian leader: Save Mary Jane". Rappler. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  46. ^ Kwok, Yenni (10 July 2015). "Boxing Icon Manny Pacquiao Visits Filipina Death-Row Convict Mary Jane Veloso". Time. Archived from the original on 27 October 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  47. ^ "'Vagina Monologues' author to Widodo: Treat Mary Jane NOT as a criminal but a victim". InterAksyon.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  48. ^ "#SaveMaryJane among most signed Change.org petitions". Rappler. Archived from the original on 9 February 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  49. ^ "ASEAN youth to Jokowi: #SaveMaryJane". Rappler. 27 April 2015. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.