Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pres. Aquino saddened by Indonesia’s decision to push through with Veloso’s execution

President Benigno S. Aquino III is saddened by Indonesia’s decision to push through with the execution of convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Monday night.

Coloma issued the statement upon being informed that the Indonesian Supreme Court has again denied the Philippine government’s second request for judicial review, rendering all the last-ditch efforts made by its officials -- including President Aquino –futile.

President Aquino personally appealed Veloso’s case anew to his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo when they met on the sidelines of the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held Monday morning in Kuala Lumpur.

In that meeting, President Aquino asked for “humanitarian consideration” for the 30-year old Filipina, who was apparently duped into being an unwitting carrier of illegal drugs by her recruiter.

Coloma said the President was of the impression that his Indonesian counterpart was “sympathetic” to Veloso’s plight and that he would consult their Attorney General on the legal issues of her case.

The succeeding development, however, did not favor the Philippines as Indonesia’s high court found no basis to reconsider the death sentence that was meted out against the Filipina.

“Following the meeting between the two Presidents, President Widodo instructed his Foreign Minister to convey to the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs the final view of the Indonesian Attorney General that there is no basis to reconsider the death sentence; that the execution will need to be enforced,” Coloma said.

The government has carried out heightened efforts to help Veloso since the time of her arrest in 2010. The Department of Foreign Affairs has provided her legal assistance and has been actively monitoring the progress of her case.

“When the Indonesian Supreme Court imposed the death sentence in May 2011, President Aquino wrote then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono requesting clemency for Ms. Veloso, thereby securing a deferral of the implementation of the sentence for three years,” Coloma said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was even dispatched to Indonesia to personally meet with Veloso and some Indonesian officials. Vice President Jejomar Binay also conveyed a letter of appeal from the President through his counterpart.

Veloso has been scheduled to face death by firing squad on Tuesday (April 28) in the island prison of Nusa Kambangan, along with the infamous ‘Bali Nine,’ an Australian group also caught smuggling heroin into Indonesia.

Coloma said the government remains determined to prevent a recurrence of such situation by intensifying information and education efforts among Filipinos traveling and working overseas. (PCOO News Release)

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