Manila, May 1, 2015 –- A key piece of evidence that could overturn Mary Jane Veloso’s conviction for allegedly smuggling 2.6 kilos of heroin into Indonesia could be provided by no other than herself.
This is what the Indonesian court is set to find out after the Filipina’s scheduled execution last Wednesday was put on hold pending further investigation.
Veloso as witness
“From what I learned, Mary Jane Veloso will act as [a] witness and it is up to the court to decide what to do next,” Minister Counsellor R. Toto Waspodo told CBCP News in an exclusive interview at the Indonesian Embassy early Thursday afternoon.
He added should there be “something significant” that Indonesian authorities may ferret from Veloso’s testimony, some considerations may be extended to her.
Waspodo revealed he expected the worst as he monitored the events at the home office on Tuesday night. However, his government received information that the alleged recruiter Christine Pasadilla also known as Kristina Sergio surfaced and gave herself up to police operatives in Nueva Ecija. It will be recalled Pasadilla’s live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao, also sought police protection.
Serious anti-drugs campaign
As to how long the reprieve will last, Waspodo said it will depend on the court handling the recruiter’s case.
Told of Cesar Veloso’s claims that Sergio allegedly told him she regrets it was Mary Jane who got apprehended after previously having smuggled so much drugs into Indonesia, Waspodo said “if the statement is right then it means a lot.” He hastened to add: “We have to be careful with the statement.”
Waspodo said they are interested in the details of the case because his country is serious in its fight against illegal drugs.
Asked if pardons are extended to death convicts, including foreign nationals, the counsellor said clemency is extended only by their president.
“It depends on our president,” he stressed.
Indonesia – PH relations
He added the mother of two was brought back to the Yogjakarta prison, some three to four hours by land from the so-called execution island Nusakambangan.
“Mary Jane Veloso’s family already moved to Yogjakarta in Central Java where they can see each other again,” Waspodo added.
He said the last executions were of those involved in the bloody Bali bombing some years ago.
Calling his government’s decision to grant a last minute reprieve to the Filipina drug mule “surprising”, Waspodo said he looks forward to closer and more beneficial relations between Indonesia and the Philippines.
Waspodo said he hopes after the Veloso case, Indonesia and the Philippines would remain brothers and wishes the close friendship will remain beneficial to both countries. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)