The Philippine government has expressed its gratitude to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for delaying the execution of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso.
"The Philippine government thanks President Widodo and the Indonesian government for giving due consideration to President Aquino's appeal that Mary Jane Veloso be given a reprieve,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.
"Such reprieve provides an opportunity for the perpetuation of her testimony that could shed light on how a criminal syndicate duped her into being an unwitting accomplice or courier in their human and drug trafficking activities,” Secretary Coloma added.
The 30-year-old Veloso was among eight foreigners scheduled to be executed by firing squad at midnight on Tuesday at the Nusakambangan maximum security prison.
As a last-ditch effort to save the drug convict, President Benigno S. Aquino III proposed to the Indonesian government that Veloso be made a witness to identify the syndicate that used her to transport illegal drugs to Indonesia.
The president’s proposal came on Tuesday (April 28) after Maria Cristina Sergio, the alleged recruiter who duped Veloso into smuggling 2.6 kilos of heroin into Indonesia in April 2010, went to the police in Nueva Ecija.
Reports said the Indonesian president held an emergency meeting with his cabinet officials to discuss President Aquino’s proposal.
Coloma also thanked the people for continuously praying for Veloso, a mother of two.
"We also thank the Filipino people for their prayers and for keeping vigil for Mary Jane's cause,” he said.
Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao are facing charges of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and estafa by swindling, filed by the Department of Justice. (PCOO News Release)