Filipinos light candles, tie white ribbons to #SaveMaryJane
MANILA, Philippines – The rejection of the second review case request for Mary Jane Veloso by the Sleman District Court in Indonesia did nothing to discourage close to a hundred of Filipinos who trooped to the Indonesian Embassy in Makati on Monday, April 27.
The group held a candle-lighting vigil in front of the embassy to call for the Indonesian government to save Veloso’s life.
During the vigil, actress Maria Isabel Lopez, former Gabriela Women's Party representative Liza Maza, and University of Santo Tomas (UST) student Albert Montesa read Mary Jane's letters for President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, Filipino youth, Filipino women, and those responsible for what happened to her.
Mary Jane Veloso, the overseas Filipino worker sentenced to death in Indonesia for unwittingly smuggling drugs, is expected to be executed, along with 7 other foreigners and one local, by firing squad on Tuesday, April 28. (READ: The story of Mary Jane Veloso, in her own words)
Indonesia, which has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world, categorizes drug-related offenses as extraordinary crimes that deserve the death penalty.
Based on her own narration however, she claims she is innocent. A high school dropout and mother of two young boys, Veloso maintains she was only duped by her godsister Kristine Sergio to bringing the luggage filled with 2.6 kilograms of heroin to Indonesia. (FAST FACTS: The case of Mary Jane Veloso)
Students at the University of the Philippines Diliman also joined the call to save Veloso’s life by tying white ribbons around the trees in the campus.
In the previous days, Filipinos, Indonesians, and people from across Southeast Asia have ramped up their call for the Indonesian government to reconsider Mary Jane’s case through a #SaveMaryJane online petition. In fact, the appeal now holds the record for being the fastest growing petition on Change.org Philippines, according to Christine Roque, the country's senior campaigner with the global petition platform.
As of posting, the online petition garnered 136,156 signatures from at least 127 countries.
Despite the worldwide online and offline clamor, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo remains unfazed. He said the scheduled executions will push through to defend the supremacy of the law, rebuffing any appeals made by Philippines and other affected countries for clemency.
Candle lighting vigil will continue at the Indonesian Embassy on Tuesday, April 28, 4pm. - Rappler.com