Group hits CA’s blocking of Veloso’s testimony vs recruiters, says ruling kept drug lords off the hook

January 11, 2018 - 8:53 PM
Filipina death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso shows her handicraft during a workshop at Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta. (Antara Foto/Rana Dyandra/Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — A group of Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong assailed the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) disallowing the deposition of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso that could have shed light to a trafficking case filed against her alleged recruiters.

“The blocking of Mary Jane’s deposition only serves to keep traffickers and drug lords off the hook,” United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil) said in a statement issued Thursday.

According to Unifil, the court’s decision was “an abomination of justice” that “prolongs the suffering and agony of Veloso and her family.”

In its 18-page decision last December 13, the CA granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the lawyers of Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, Veloso’s alleged recruiters.

The decision gagged Veloso from relating how she was duped into bringing illegal drugs to Indonesia that caused her arrest and imprisonment in the country.

Unifil said that if the Duterte administration really wants to win its war on drugs, prosecution of traffickers, who capitalize on the vulnerability of the poor – like Veloso and most of the 13,000 victims of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign – “should be pursued.”

“Mary Jane’s story and her case can give concrete pictures of how big drug trafficking syndicates operate in the country that takes advantage of their deplorable situation and their desire to work abroad to alleviate their families from abject poverty and destitution,” the group said.

“Mary Jane’s deposition is long overdue and it is what the Filipino people and the Indonesian government and the international communities want and need to hear. CA’s decision leads only to much uncertainty to Mary Jane’s family, and unjustly keeps Mary Jane in prison with the threat of execution still not off the table,” it added.