MANILA, April 12, 2015—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of the Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) has officially joined the rest of the nation in pleading for the life of Mary Jane Veloso, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) on death row in Indonesia for alleged drug trafficking.
In a statement released on Friday, April 10, Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos, who concurrently chairs CBCP-ECMI, expresses lament over the fate of Veloso, a 30-year old single mother from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
“We join the appeal to the Indonesian authorities to spare her the death penalty. We pray for our government officials who are working hard to get her reprieve and to spare her from this worst punishment. At this time it is important for all of us to be one in prayer to save Mary Jane’s life,” shares the prelate.
“We in the migrants ministry and apostolate feel deep concern and sadness over the unfortunate situation of our compatriot Mary Jane Veloso now facing the punishment of death in an Indonesian jail,” he adds.
Preciousness of life
Nothing how every life is precious in view of its Divine origin, Santos says CBCP-ECMI storms the heavens with prayers that she be saved from a tragic fate.
Meanwhile, an alliance of non-Catholic Christian ecclesial communities had earlier rallied Filipinos to pray for Veloso, hopeful that she “will triumph over this darkness in her life.”
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) believes Veloso was not given proper legal assistance and her case was not thoroughly investigated, stressing she should not be executed as she was only a victim of an organized criminal drug syndicate, tricked her into working in Indonesia.
Rex RB. Reyes, NCCP general secretary explained the OFW was allegedly provided only with a translator, but not a defense lawyer, similar to what happened to Flor Contemplacion, an OFW in Singapore whose execution by hanging in 1995 made international headlines.
No to Flor Contemplacion 2015
The interdenominational group stressed they do not want more OFWs dying due to government failure and neglect.
“We thus appeal to the government to immediately take action to save the life of Mary Jane. We echo the call of our migrant sisters and brothers: ‘we do not want another Flor Contemplacion!’” added Reyes. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)