“Just let her speak out and let her story stand on its own. Or shall we wait for her to be sent to the gallows with her mouth gagged?”
By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA — Almost three years after a complaint against her recruiters had been filed, justice remains elusive for eight-year death row detainee Mary Jane Veloso.
Mary Jane Veloso is an OFW who was a victim of illegal recruitment and arrested on drug charges in Indonesia. On the early morning of her scheduled execution, April 29, 2015, she received a reprieve from the Indonesian government pending conclusion of the case and the investigation by Philippine authorities.
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On January 5, 2018, the 11th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated a decision affirming the injunction barring her written testimony.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which has served as Veloso’s counsel in her drug trafficking case in Indonesia and private counsels in the case against her recruiters, formerly filed a petition for her written deposition to take the place of an actual testimony. Currently detained in Indonesia, Veloso could not be transported to the Philippines during the pendency of the case against her recruiters.
Her recruiters’ counsel, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) opposed this by filing an injunction petition, citing that a written testimony will deprive their clients of the right to face the complainant and also to a speedy disposition of the case.
NUPL hit the decision of the Appeals Court as ‘disappointing, frustrating, ironic, and unrealistic’. Hoping that the CA would consider the novelty of the situation, allowing her written testimony to shed light on the whole truth.
“No fundamental right is violated if Mary Jane is allowed to answer written interrogatories as the accused through counsel will be present when her deposition is taken in Indonesia in the presence not only of the same Philippine judge hearing the case for human trafficking, illegal recruitment and swindling, but also other concerned judicial and consular officials of the Philippines and Indonesia,” the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said in a statement.