Family recounts Mary Jane visit: 'She is a very different person’
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia – Mary Jane was extremely happy to see her parents and her children who flew from Manila to visit her on her 31st birthday, but unlike before, Mary Jane was composed.
She was thrilled, said her mother Celia, but she did not shed a tear.
“She is no longer emotional like before. She’s a different person from when she was outside,” Celia said in Filipino on Tuesday, January 12, after their visit to her daughter.
Celia said she cried when she saw Mary Jane, but that she and her husband Cesar, as well as Mary Jane’s children, were more emotional than the Filipina on death row.
“She was happy, but she is very prayerful now… like a nun,” said Celia. “She has accepted whatever her fate is, and thinks God has a plan for her.”
Celia said Mary Jane herself told her, “The old Mary Jane is dead.”
Mary Jane made global headlines last April when she was set to be executed by firing squad for allegedly smuggling 2.6 kilograms of heroin into the predominantly Muslim country. Veloso was granted an 11th hour reprieve by the Indonesian government due to a last minute plea by President Benigno Aquino III as well as the surrender of her alleged recruiter, Maria Cristina Sergio. (READ: Saving Mary Jane, the face of OFWs)
Mary Jane maintains her innocence, saying she was framed by Sergio who told her there was a job waiting for her in Indonesia. She claims the suitcase she was carrying was gifted to her by Sergio (READ: Mary Jane's mothers to Indonesians: Thank you for saving my daughter)
The family was able to spend a little over 4 hours with Mary Jane at the Wirongunan Women’s Penitentiary in Yogyakarta, two hours less than they thought they would be able to. While they said they were a little sad about the shortened duration of the visit, they said they were grateful for the opportunity to spend time with their daughter.
According to Celia, Mary Jane was grateful for the gifts she received, jokingly asking her mother about the faded denim drawstring jeans she received from her older sister.
“She asked me, ‘Is this what’s trendy now in the Philippines?’,” Celia said. “I said yes, and she said okay, and that the pants would fit her.”
The family also enjoyed a simple feast of KFC fried chicken and a birthday cake, but plans to bring her favorite durian fruit and some pansit (dry noodles) in the coming days. They will visit her for the rest of the week until their return to Manila on Friday, January 15.
Cesar also told Mary Jane’s supporters not to worry because his daughter is in high spirits.
“She is happy, so please don’t worry about her,” he said. “She thanks all the supporters who continue to pray for her.”
The parents are also at ease after hearing Mary Jane say there are no talks of a pending execution, saying there are no such rumours inside the prison. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have also reiterated that there have been no notice or similar talks from the Indonesian government.
In September, Attorney General HM Prasetyo said the Indonesian government has changed its priorities to focus more on program development than the death penalty, given the country’s discouraging economic conditions. But Prasetyo also clarified that just because it is not on top of their list right now, it does not mean the government has changed its mind on the necessity of the death penalty – especially for those whose sentence has already been meted out.
“We are not going to change our position on that. Particularly with drug offenders, dealers and manufacturers. We are resolute,” he said.
The Penal Code of Indonesia states that death-sentenced inmates are to be executed by firing squad, out of public view. The inmate is informed of his or her execution only 72 hours in advance. The inmate can stand or sit, and have his or her eyes covered by a blindfold or a hood. (READ: Indonesia uses faulty drug data to justify death penalty) – Rappler.com