Charges filed vs Mary Jane's alleged recruiter

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine law enforcement agencies have filed charges against the alleged recruiter of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Mary Jane Veloso, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday, April 24.

In a media briefing, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said Veloso's alleged recruiter, Maria Kristina Sergio, faces "charges of illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and estafa."

"The case is now with the Department of Justice pending preliminary investigation," Jose said.

Indonesia has sentenced 30-year-old Veloso to death because of drug smuggling. Veloso's camp, however, argues that Sergio duped her into unknowingly smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia.

The Philippines on Friday filed a second appeal for an Indonesian court to review Veloso's case.  

The second appeal asserts that Veloso is a victim of human trafficking. 

Lie detector test

Sergio, on the other hand, denied the allegations against her.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News aired Thursday, April 23, Sergio said she only wanted to help Veloso find a job in Malaysia. 

She said she noticed, however, that while in Malaysia, Veloso often spoke to someone on the phone. A few days after they arrived in Malaysia, Veloso supposedly called Sergio to say she was flying to Indonesia.

Sergio said she knew nothing about Veloso's flight to Indonesia, and was surprised to know Veloso was caught with drugs in the airport.

Crying in front of a television camera, Sergio dared her accusers to subject her to a lie detector test.

Sergio said, "Lalabas at lalabas din ang katotohanan: Inosente ako doon." (The truth will come out: I am innocent.) – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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