A sons’ wish: ‘I want to rescue Mama’

The children of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina in death row in Indonesia, hope that she will be saved from execution.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

Mark Darren and Mark Daniel (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)
Mark Darren and Mark Daniel (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)
MANILA – The two children of the Filipina in death row in Indonesia want to be police men. Mark Daniel, 12, said he wants to help people. But his younger brother Mark Darren, age six, has something more daring in mind.

“I want to rescue Mama,” he sheepishly told Bulatlat.com.

Their mother, Mary Jane Veloso, has been detained in Indonesia for the past five years. She was arrested for reportedly carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin, stitched inside the luggage bag her traffickers lent her in 2010. Her case was unknown to the public until recently.

Her two children have managed to pay her a visit in jail. Mark Daniel, along with his grandparents, went to Indonesia in 2013. All of the expenses – from their passports, airfare tickets to their one-month hotel accommodations – were paid for by Indonesian jail authorities and one of the prosecutors of the case.

Their next visit, this time with Mark Darren, was only this June. The Department of Foreign Affairs paid for their four-day trip only when the case was already brought before the public.

Their grandmother Celia told Bulatlat.com that she was surprised that Mark Darren recognized his mother instantly. He was only more than a year old when her mother was trafficked to Malaysia and, eventually, arrested in Indonesia.

Mark Darren, as soon as he saw Veloso, ran toward his mother shouting, “Mama, mama!”

Asked how he recognized his mother he said, “from pictures.”

He would, from time to time, tug his grandparents or his older brother whenever he would see Veloso’s pictures from the posters and streamers made by Migrante International, the overseas Filipino workers group helping the family put to task the Aquino government to save the his mother’s life.

Mark Daniel, for his part, said he misses his mother very much. Veloso, she said, used to send him off to school and prepare his food.

“She is a good cook, especially vegetables. Pinakbet (mixed vegetables sautéed in fish paste) is my favorite,” he said.

During their jail visits, Mark Daniel said they would play badminton with Veloso. His mother would always win but he said that he does not mind. They had fun no matter how bittersweet their reunion was.

But what Mark Daniel misses the most, he added, was sleeping next to his mother.

Their grandparents brought the two children along to the rallies and prayer vigils as part of their last-ditch effort to save Mary Jane from execution. They hardly utter words or at times look awed by the cameras clicking away at them. But the two are well-aware of the difficulty faced by their family.

The two children remain positive that their mother would be saved from execution.

Mark Darren said: “That is what my grandma told me.” ()

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