SC asked to rule as clock ticks on Mary Jane Veloso local trial
MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution has only until October 28 to secure a Supreme Court (SC) ruling that would allow Mary Jane Veloso to testify in the ongoing human trafficking case she filed before a Nueva Ecija court against alleged recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
"Trial court gave prosecution one last chance on October 28 to present as last witness Mary Jane Veloso herself by way of written deposition in Indonesia if allowed by the Supreme Court on or before said date," said Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), which are the private prosecutors in the case.
The Indonesian government has delayed the execution of Veloso to give way to the local trial. Veloso was convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia, but she claims she was duped by her recruiters.
The outcome of this local trial is seen to significantly affect her case in Indonesia.
The public prosecutor told the Nueva Ecija court in a hearing on Thursday, September 26, that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will file a second motion to resolve before the SC.
"We respectfully appeal to the Court to resolve the pending Certiorari petition of the OSG – which we join – seeking permission to allow Mary Jane Veloso to testify once and for all," said Olalia.
The Nueva Ecija court had earlier allowed Veloso to testify through deposition, but the Court of Appeals reversed that ruling twice, favoring Sergio and Lacanilao, who argued that their right to confront their accuser face to face is being violated.
Veloso went to the Supreme Court for a final ruling in September 2018. The OSG filed the first motion for resolution in January 2019.
If the SC does not act before October 28, the prosecutor will be forced to present as witness the Philippine consul general in place of Veloso. The consul general will relay to the court what Veloso had relayed.
The prosecution is hoping that if Veloso is allowed to testify via deposition from her jail in Indonesia, it could "prove completely that she is a victim of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and an unwilling and clueless drug courier."
"It may pave the way to a possible permanent reprieve, pardon or amnesty or even commutation of service by the Indonesian government," said Olalia. – Rappler.com