20 years after, Flor Contemplacion’s lawyer defends #MaryJane

Edre Olalia
'Twenty years after Flor's execution, seemingly hard and cold yet fallible laws in faraway lands are poised to ignore all humanitarian pleas storming the heavens with prayers to save the life of Mary Jane'

Somewhere out there, a dazed and vulnerable young, single mother sits alone, sleepless and helpless, in a cold dingy cell far, far away from her two little children, and waiting for what seems to be the inevitable.

How could one erase the image of that forlorn look on Mary Jane Veloso’s face, 20 years after Flor Contemplacion?

Mary Jane is a victim not only of soulless creatures who took advantage of her desperation but ultimately of this government and our society that push our poor, young, and hopeless to leave everything and risk anything in order to put food on the table and chase their simple dream of living like human beings. 

Twenty years after Flor,  Mary Jane is but  another dispensable commodity of a government who now falls all over itself to save her after apparently doing too little and too late again. (READ: Aquino ‘doing too little’ to #SaveMaryJane – OFW group)

Serious and credible allegations that she was not only deceived and set up but also effectively denied basic due process to adequately defend herself demand that she be given a fair chance to legally establish her innocence. After all, there is no further motion for reconsideration in the afterlife. 

IN TEARS. Mary Jane was in tears when she appeared in court on March 3, 2015, to appeal against her death sentence. Photo by  Bimo Satrio/EPA

Twenty years after Flor’s execution,  seemingly hard and cold yet fallible laws in faraway lands are poised to ignore all humanitarian pleas storming the heavens with prayers to save the life of Mary Jane.  (READ: Mary Jane’s sister to President Jokowi: Blood will be on your hands)

We did not want to see Flor’s stoic face or hear her pained moan crying for mercy and justice as she was delivered to the gallows.  

Against all odds, fast and furious steps in local  and international venues are again being explored and exhausted by a team of Filipino rights lawyers just recently retained by Mary Jane’s family to help stop her unjust execution in Indonesia.  (READ: 3 ways to help save #MaryJane from Indonesian death row– Rappler.com

Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), is the lead counsel of the recently-formed legal team for the #SaveMaryJane campaign. He was also part of the legal team for Flor Contemplacion, led by the late human rights lawyer Romy Capulong.