MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Maria Kristina Sergio, the alleged recruiter of Indonesia death row convict Mary Jane Veloso, met with top government officials on Wednesday, April 29, at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame.
Sergio and her live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao, arrived at the PNP headquarters in Quezon City past 5:30 pm on Wednesday. They were immediately brought to the office of PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
The two are also set to speak with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II at the police camp. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is also at the PNP headquarters.
Chief Superintendent Avelina de Guzman told Rappler that Sergio's transfer was triggered by the orders of Region 3 officer-in-charge Chief Superintendent Ronald Santos.
Sergio “voluntarily surrendered” to Nueva Ecija provincial police on Tuesday, April 28, supposedly because of threats to her life. On Monday, the Justice Department recommended that Sergio, Lacanilao, and a certain “Ike” be charged for illegal recruitment, estafa, and human trafficking in connection with Veloso’s case. (READ: African, two others accused of trafficking Mary Jane)
Veloso was scheduled to be executed via firing squad past midnight April 29 but this was postponed following Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s last-minute pleas to Indonesia.
The 30-year-old mother of two was sentenced to death in Indonesia after she was found guilty of drug smuggling. But Veloso insists they she was only duped into bringing in 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia. (READ: The story of Mary Jane Veloso, in her own words)
Philippine authorities see Sergio as a means for Veloso’s fate to change. Aquino requested Indonesia to turn Veloso into a state witness, adding it would help the country to track down a drug trafficking syndicate, which allegedly includes Veloso's recruiters.
Sergio’s surrender was cited by Indonesia as one of the reasons behind her last-minute reprieve. “Because the legal process is still ongoing in the Philippines, we must ensure Mary Jane Veloso deserves justice,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said. (READ: Jokowi: 'Mary Jane Veloso deserves justice')
The Justice Department has set the preliminary investigation on Veloso's case on May 8. – Rappler.com