JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appears to have crushed the final hope that Mary Jane Veloso could be spared from execution.
In an interview aired on state-owned television station TVRI late on Monday, April 27, Jokowi explained his response to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's appeal earlier during the day asking for the 30-year-old Filipino mother of two's life to be spared.
"I won't repeat this again, this is about the supremacy of law," he said, when asked whether Veloso would definitely be executed, reiterating the statement he gives every time he's asked about the death penalty. (READ: Jokowi on pleas for Mary Jane: Respect our laws)
Appeals to save Veloso, who maintains she was duped into bringing a suitcase with 2.6 kilograms of heroin hidden inside into Indonesia in 2010, has quickly gained momentum over the past few days. Indonesian migrant worker activists have also campaigned for her, saying she could easily have been one of them.
But Jokowi said that instead of reporting on those who would be executed, the media should explain that 50 young Indonesians die from illegal drugs every day, or about 18,000 a year – the statistics he uses to claim that Indonesia is in a drug emergency that necessitates the use of the death penalty.
Jokowi also said he had asked Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to convey his response to the Philippine government.
The response comes a few hours after the Sleman district court rejected the second case review request filed for Veloso, the last legal effort to save her.
Last week, Philippine investigators recommended the filing of charges against an African man and two Filipino nationals for trafficking Veloso – a move many say comes too late.
Veloso is set to be executed by firing squad after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, along with 8 other drug convicts on death row, with reports indicating it would take place sometime after midnight on Wednesday. – Rappler.com