HomeNewsVeloso family calls for Mary Jane’s freedom during Widodo's Philippine visit

Veloso family calls for Mary Jane’s freedom during Widodo’s Philippine visit

The mother of a migrant worker who has been on Indonesia’s death row for 14 years now has issued an appeal for her daughter’s clemency during the visit of President Joko Widodo to the Philippines. 

In a handwritten letter dated January 10, 2024, Celia Veloso pleaded with the Indonesian president for the freedom of her daughter, Mary Jane Veloso.

“I am pleading and appealing for your assistance in securing freedom for my child, who has endured 14 years of unjust suffering,” she said. 

Widodo is in the country for a 3-day official visit that coincides with the preparations for the 75th year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Indonesia in November. 

The National Union of People’s Lawyers reported that a legal counsel was granted permission to enter the Malacañang Palace, where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Widodo are engaged in a bilateral meeting, to deliver Veloso’s letter.

In a statement, a Filipino migrants’ organization emphasized the urgent need for clemency and freedom for Mary Jane Veloso, who has been imprisoned in Indonesia since 2010. 

Mary Jane Veloso, who turned 39 today, has been a victim of illegal recruitment and human trafficking, according to Migrante International.

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The group said Mary Jane was duped into transporting drugs into Indonesia, leading to her arrest.

“Her traffickers have been identified and arrested, and this was the basis for the stay of execution granted to her in 2015,” the statement read. 

Migrante International called on Widodo to grant their humanitarian appeal for clemency and collaborate with the Philippine Government to combat human trafficking in the ASEAN region.

In a press briefing, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said the Philippines has renewed its request for an executive clemency for Veloso with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

In 2010, an Indonesian court sentenced Veloso to death after she was caught with 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her bag at the international airport in Yogyakarta.

Widodo granted a reprieve for Veloso before she was set to be executed in 2015.

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