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Sergio: Mary Jane Veloso’s family threatened me

Bea Cupin
Sergio: Mary Jane Veloso’s family threatened me
In a sworn statement, the accused recruiter of Mary Jane Veloso says she received death threats from Veloso’s husband and parents

MANILA, Philippines – It was the people closest to the woman she allegedly recruited and duped into a drug smuggling job that drove Maria Kristina Sergio to seek protection from the police.

In a sworn statement, Sergio, the alleged recruiter of Indonesian death row convict Mary Jane Veloso, said she had been receiving death threats since April 2015 for her supposed role in the conviction of the 30-year-old Filipina.

Sergio “voluntarily surrendered” to Nueva Ecija police on Tuesday, April 28, supposedly because she feared for her life.

Ako ay nakatanggap ng mga pagbabanta sa aking buhay simula noong unang linggo ng Abril 2015 (I have been receiving threats to my life since the first week of April 2015),” she said in an affidavit signed on April 28 in Cabanatuan city. 

Asked who issued the threats against her, Sergio pointed fingers to Veloso’s husband and family. (READ: Mary Jane Veloso a drug smuggler? Look at our home, parents say)

PARENTS. Cesar and Celia Veloso, Mary Jane's parents. File photo

Noong unang linggo ng Abril 2015, nang ako ay ma-interview ng media, noon ako unang nakatanggap ng pagbabanta sa aking buhay mula sa pamilya ni Mary Jane Veloso. Tumawag sila sa akin at ako ay sinabihan ng ‘TAPOS NA ANG MALILIGAYANG ARAW MO.’ At magmula nga noon mapanood ang aking interview ay marami akong natanggap na mga tawag at text messages gamit ang iba’t-ibang cellphone numbers,” she added.

(In the first week of April 2015, after I was interviewed by media, is when I first started receiving threats to my life from the family of Mary Jane Veloso. They called me and told me that “MY HAPPY DAYS ARE OVER.” From then on, since my interview aired, I received numerous calls and texts from different cellphone numbers.)

Sergio said the threats came from Michael Candelaria, Veloso’s husband, and from the parents of Mary Jane, her 55-year-old mother Celia, and 59-year-old father Cesar.

…at ng mga sumunod na araw ay tumawag siya [Candelaria] muli at ako ay sinabihan ng “PAG NATULOY ANG PAGBITAY AY IISA-ISAHIN KO KAYO.” At ang mga magulang naman po ni Mary Jane ay pinagsabihan ako ng “SISINGILIN NAMIN ANG MGA TAONG MAY KAGAGAWAN KUNG BAKIT MABIBITAY ANG ANAK NAMIN,’” Sergio said in her sworn statement.

Sergio’s cellphone has since been turned over to law enforcement authorities for investigation.

While refusing to pinpoint where the threats had come from, Philippine officials have not discounted the possibility they were from drug syndicates.

Mary Jane’s plight

The 30-year-old Veloso, who had travelled to Malaysia and eventually Indonesia, in hopes of earning enough for her two young boys, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death in 2010 for bringing in 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia, which has a strict policy against drugs.

But Veloso insists she was only a victim, unknowingly tricked into being a drug courier. She was scheduled to be executed via firing squad past midnight April 29, but Indonesia put it on hold after meetings with migrant activists, pleas from President Benigno Aquino III and ironically, Sergio’s surrender

Sergio faces possible illegal recruitment, estafa, and human trafficking charges along with two others in connection with Veloso’s case.

She is currently under the “protective custody” of Philippine police as the Justice department builds up the case against her.

Sergio, who is also Veloso’s god-sister, is seen as key to reversing Mary Jane’s fate in Indonesia.

It is hoped the case against Sergio, her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, and a certain “Ike” will prove that Veloso was not a drug smuggler but a victim of human trafficking.

But she has thus far denied recruiting Veloso. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.