The Jakarta Post
A legal expert said on Friday that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo should not agree to any appeal from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to spare the life of death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso amid rumors that Duterte’s state visit was aimed at lobbying Jokowi for the release of the Filipino woman in exchange for easing the legal process entangling hundreds of Indonesians who used fake Filipino passports to go on the haj.
The rumors about the possible barter have circulated since Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said on Wednesday that Duterte might not impose legal sanctions against an estimated of 500 to 700 Indonesians posing as Filipino pilgrims, while in fact identity fraud is a crime in the Philippines.
"[A barter] would emphasize that the strict anti-narcotics policies in both Indonesia and the Philippines are only political tools [...] Indonesia should hold onto its legal principles. Our law will not do barters of any kind," Jakarta-based Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) director Ricky Gunawan said.
The government's decision to spare Veloso from the third round of executions last July might have also come about because Jakarta "owed" Manila for having secured the release of some Indonesian sailors held captive by the militant Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, Ricky claimed. However, the tit-for-tat pay-backs between the two countries should stop since they could serve as a bad precedence in the future, he added. (dmr)
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