PH files 'stronger' 2nd appeal for Mary Jane Veloso
JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – The Philippines on Friday, April 24, filed a second appeal, asking Indonesia to review the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina set to be executed by firing squad on Indonesia's prison island.
Veloso's lawyers filed the appeal at the Sleman District Court in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, around 3:30 pm on Friday, Indonesian lawyer Ismail Muhammad* confirmed.
The Indonesian Attorney General's Office (AGO) has yet to set the date of Veloso's execution. Convicts must be given 72 hours notice before being put to death, and AGO spokesman Tony Spontana said those awaiting execution had not yet been given this notice.
Philippine embassy officials in Jakarta earlier planned to file the second appeal on Monday, April 26.
They rushed the second appeal after Indonesian officials transferred Veloso to Nusa Kambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, around 1 am on Friday.
Earlier, Veloso's lawyers said the second appeal would contain stronger, "newly discovered" evidence from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The lawyers said the request for review included evidence from PDEA about Maria Kristina Sergio, the alleged illegal recruiter and drug trafficker who supposedly tricked Mary Jane.
The second request for judicial review was supposed to include a certification from the Inter-Agency Council on Trafficking (IACAT) in Manila.
The certification states that IACAT has received a complaint that Veloso is a trafficking victim, and that IACAT is requesting Indonesia for an investigation. But lawyers said the IACAT document did not make it on time.
Fortunately, they were able to include in their appeal a memo from the Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women which certifies that Mary Jane is a victim of human trafficking.
"There is an Indonesian law on trafficking that mandates the government protect victims rather than punish them," said lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), after meeting with Veloso's Indonesian lawyers on Wednesday, April 22.
Veloso's family is in Indonesia for what is feared to be a final reunion. (READ: PH not informed of Mary Jane's transfer to island)
Veloso's children and mother arrived in Jakarta around midnight with plans to visit her in Yogyakarta on Friday, April 24, but she was transferred at 1 am.
Her two sons made an emotional appeal the day before to Indonesian President Joko Widodo's son to help save their mother. (READ: Mary Jane's kids to Indonesian president's son: Help save mom)
Veloso has told her mother her final wish: "Iuwi ang aking bangkay." (Bring my body home.)
Olalia, however, said they remained hopeful until the 72-hour notice is given. – Jet Damazo Santos/Rappler.com
Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story we identified the Indonesian lawyer as Agus Salim. He is based in Jakarta. The confirmation came from Ismail Muhammad who is based in Sleman.