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JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said “go ahead” if Mary Jane Veloso “were to be executed,” Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo disclosed to reporters on Monday, September 12.
Jokowi said that he and Duterte spoke about Veloso, the Philippine drug convict who is on death row in Indonesia, during Duterte’s recent visit here.
“I have already spoken (to President Duterte) about Mary Jane’s case. I said that Mary Jane brought 2.6 kilograms of heroin. And I also told him about the postponement of the execution. At that time, President Duterte said ‘go ahead’ if (Mary Jane) were to be executed,” Jokowi told media after Eid prayers at the At-Tsauroh Mosque in Serang on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella later clarified Duterte’s statements in a Monday afternoon press conference. “His actual statement and conversation with President Widodo went like this. He said, regarding Mary Jane Veloso he said, ‘Follow your own laws, I will not interfere.’ End of statement,” Abella said. (READ: Duterte said he will not interfere with Indonesian laws – Palace)
In Indonesia, when asked about the ongoing legal process in the Philippines regarding Mary Jane’s case, Jokowi said: “The legal process is up to the Attorney General. But that is what President Duterte said.”
Jokowi did not mention Duterte appealing for Mary Jane’s life when they met last Friday, September 9.
Previously, Duterte had said that he would plead for Mary Jane’s life when he meets Jokowi on his working visit to Indonesia, but he also said he was ready accept Indonesia’s decision either way.
“Well, I may just have to ask [Indonesian President Joko] Widodo in a most respectful and in very, very courteous way. And if my pleadings will fall on deaf ears, I am ready to accept it – for the simple reason I do not doubt the judicial system of Indonesia,” he said.
While in Indonesia, Philippine officials told media that Mary Jane was not discussed at the tete-a-tete with ministers from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Upon arrival in Manila, however, Duterte said he did talk to Jokowi about Mary Jane but only between the two of them. He refused to discuss their conversation, saying that he was not at liberty to divulge details and would talk to Veloso’s family first.
Veloso, a single mother of two from the Philippines, has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for allegedly smuggling drugs into the country. She has maintained her innocence, insisting she was an unknowing drug mule.
Veloso was given a last-minute reprieve on April 29, 2015.
That day, the 8 other drug trafficking convicts scheduled to be executed with her were put to death on a prison island.
Indonesian Attorney General HM Prasetyo said an exception was made for Veloso because her alleged recruiter surrendered, and Veloso may be able to testify on the case. Indonesia has said it would wait for the recruiter’s trial to conclude in the Philippines before acting on Veloso’s case, but emphasized she remains on death row.
Veloso appealed to Duterte last week for help in “getting justice.”
“I’ve been suffering for so long here in Indonesia, suffering even though I am innocent. You are my only hope,” she said in an audio recording.
“I’ve been in Indonesia for almost 7 years now, and I still haven’t been given justice. That’s all I ask from you – give me justice.” – Rappler.com