MANILA, April 14, 2015—“I have an appeal to make to our fellow Filipinos who are planning to work abroad: Do not just accept parcels or bags from people, especially [from] those you do not know.”
Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle had this to say as a reminder to future and current Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to avoid sharing the fate of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina sentenced to die by firing squad in Indonesia for allegedly possessing 2.6 kilos of heroin in 2010.
In an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas, the prelate advised OFWs to always be on their guard and to refuse any persons, whether casual acquaintances or total strangers, who request them to carry something in their stead.
“If you have no idea what is inside that bag, you will be the one responsible because it is in your possession. If the content turns out to be illegal, you might be arrested for it,” Tagle said.
In the same interview, the cardinal addressed narcotics dealers and other lawless elements involved in drug trade not to exploit unsuspecting OFWs in their illicit activities who often end up paying for the crimes of others.
Moreover, Tagle pleaded with the Indonesian government to give Veloso, a 30-year old single mother from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, as well as other OFWs who have run afoul with the law in their host countries, the proper hearing everyone deserves.
“I appeal that Mary Jane Veloso be given due process. While I do respect the laws of other other countries. I appeal on behalf of all people who will be arrested, that their rights be respected and that due process be extended to them,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News with reports from Roxanne dela Rosa)