MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As Mary Jane Veloso’s execution by firing squad looms in Indonesia, an online petition to grant her clemency gained support, hoping it will change President Joko Widodo’s mind. (READ: SIGN THE PETITION: Join global action to #SaveMaryJane)
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 5 pm on Tuesday, April 28, the signature drive had gathered more than 162,000 signatures.
“Every signature represents each person’s belief that they have the power to convince Jokowi to show compassion and mercy and #SaveMaryJane,” Roque said.
The petition “captured the sentiment of the nation and easily made it into a global plea,” allowing people to express their sympathy for and unity with the Filipina on death row, according to Roque.
The petition also supports efforts to end human trafficking, which Veloso was a victim of, according to her lawyers.
One of those who signed the petition commented:
I think it’s not really about the tough stance of Widodo nor setting an example that should be the reason for executing someone. These shallow measures would only have negligible effect on drug-related problems of Indonesia. The focus should be the suppliers, producers, protectors and the like, not these unaware drug mules. You can kill all the mules that you intercept, but the problem will still persist you cut the head of the snake. – Wade Comoro
After church groups launched an international call to save the life of Veloso on Sunday, April 26, via Rappler’s MovePH, the appeal made it to the top 10 of the most signed petitions globally over the weekend, Roque said.
“This is huge and rare for a petition from the Philippines. Every day, about 1,000 petitions are created on Change.org. MovePH was instrumental in making this happen,” according to Roque.
Citizens from 127 countries signed the petition, with most signatures coming from the Philippines, the United States, Canada, the Uniated Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Australia.
But there were netizens who dismissed the petition. Commenting in a mix of Filipino and English, Filipino netizen Dharmdevil said:
The law is the law. Justice is served cold. The problem here in the Philippines is that the citizens – both rich and poor – are not disciplined.
Veloso was arrested in 2010 with 2.6 kilograms of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase. She claimed she went to Indonesia for a job as a maid and was duped into carrying drugs by an international drug syndicate. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: The fate of Mary Jane Veloso)
On Monday, an Indonesian court rejected Mary Jane Veloso’s petition for a second review of her case. However, just a few minutes before the decision was announced, President Widodo said he would inform President Benigno Aquino III later Monday of his decision on the Philippine leader’s appeal for Veloso’s life. – Rappler.com
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