The Jakarta Post
The Attorney General's Office (AGO) announced on Wednesday that it was unlikely that legal proceedings in the Philippines would prevent the death sentence of convicted Filipino drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo also said that the government would not respond to requests to free Veloso.
'Any request to free Mary Jane [Veloso] would be difficult to realize as she has been proven to have smuggled heroin into the country,' he said.
The 30-year-old was among nine death row inmates scheduled to face a firing squad on April 29 for drug trafficking charges. She was arrested in possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin at the Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta in 2010.
The AGO decided to delay Veloso's execution after she was named a witness in a human trafficking case being investigated by authorities in the Philippines.
However, Prasetyo said that if the Filipino courts found Maria Kristina Sergio, Veloso's alleged trafficker, guilty of human trafficking then Veloso could try to use the results as 'new evidence to be considered in a case review or clemency appeal'.
On Wednesday, a delegation from the Philippines' Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Prosecution Service met with AGO officials to discuss Veloso and Sergio's case. Among them were Philippines Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Lumen B. Isleta and Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III.
AGO spokesman Tony T. Spontana said after the meeting that members of the delegation had officially requested for Veloso's testimony and access to her case dossier in order to gather proof against Sergio.
'They have requested this on the basis of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Among Like-Minded ASEAN Member Countries [ASEAN MLAT]. They said that they have made three other requests but they are for several other institutions, such as the Law and Human Rights Ministry,' he said.
Tony said that the delegation informed the AGO that Sergio would go to trial soon as the case was submitted to the courts on July 10.
He said that Sergio would not be tried for drug trafficking. Instead, she would be tried for human trafficking, fraud and illegal recruitment, Tony said.
'Members of the delegation explained that after the date [for the trial] has been confirmed then the prosecutors will ask permission from the judge to use Mary Jane's testimony. She will be the first witness,' he said.
Tony said that the AGO respected the legal proceedings in the Philippines, and that he hoped the Filipino government would do the same.
'We also strongly emphasize that [Veloso's trial] has been conducted objectively, fairly and was not staged. The fact of the matter is that she is a death row drug convict because she smuggled heroin into Indonesia,' Tony said.
The AGO also called on the Filipino government to resolve Sergio's case as soon as possible so that the future of Veloso could be decided soon.
Members of the Filipino delegation declined to give details about their meeting with the AGO.
Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Neil Simon Silva said after the meeting that the evidence against Sergio remained classified.
'We can't comment on the evidence because it is being discussed by the government,' he said.
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x
Renew your subscription to get unlimited access