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YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (4th UPDATE) – The Sleman District Court did not accept Mary Jane Veloso’s second case review request, court spokesman Marliyus said Monday, April 27.
“The case review request was not accepted by Sleman district court,” Marliyus told Rappler.
The court stipulation stated that a case review can only be filed once. The only time a second one can be accepted is if there were contradicting decisions between criminal, administrative, or civil courts.
Veloso’s lawyers had said the second request was stronger than the first as it argued on substance – that Mary Jane was a human trafficking victim and not a drug courier – and was backed by evidence from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“It’s disappointing that the court did not even read the new evidence,” lawyer Ismail Muhammad said.
Just a few minutes before the court decision was announced, President Joko Widodo told reporters he will call President Benigno Aquino later again today to inform him of his response on the latter’s appeal for Veloso.
In a text message to reporters, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine embassy in Indonesia has confirmed that the second appeal was rejected. The embassy “is now asking the lawyers to determine whether President Benigno Aquino III’s discussions this morning with President Widodo may open another window.”
“Nakakapangilabot. Pero hindi pa kami sumusuko. May bukas pa,” Veloso’s sister, Maritess Veloso Laurente, said after learning that the Indonesian court rejected the second appeal. (This is horrifying. But we’re not giving up. There’s still tomorrow.)
Laurente however said her sister is “ready.” In fact she has spoken with her former husband, Michael Candelaria, to discuss the future of their two children. (READ: Mary Jane to family: No resentments)
Veloso was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death in 2010 for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia. But she only began making headlines in Indonesia in January, after Widodo rejected her request for clemency. (READ: FAST FACTS: The case of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso)
In April, Aquino reiterated his appeal for clemency, but Widodo has not responded to Aquino’s request.
Using his clout, world boxing champ Manny Pacquiao joined Aquino on Monday in requesting Widodo to save Veloso. – with reports from Jet Damazo-Santos in Cilacap/Rappler.com