OPEN LETTER TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO: Save the life of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso

save mj tarp(1)With hopes still raised high, we humbly and sincerely appeal to Your Excellency that the Indonesian Government spare the life of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso who was convicted in your country for drug trafficking and sentenced to be executed after her judicial appeal was rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court last March 26.

We sincerely ask Your Excellency for clemency to save her life.  We believe that Mary Jane was a victim of large drug syndicates who take advantage of the unawareness, vulnerability and desperation of our people.  We are pained that she has been meted the death penalty while the big true drug operators and syndicates go on with wild abandon.

Mary Jane was a victim not only of drug trafficking syndicates but of circumstance. A single mother of two, she was forced by dire straits to seek employment abroad and became vulnerable to exploitation of a person she trusted. The person who tricked her into carrying a luggage that contained 2.6 kilos of heroin remains at large to this day. Mary Jane does not deserve to be executed, her two children do not deserve to lose their mother, over a crime that she did not wittingly commit.

Mary Jane was also a victim of Philippine government neglect. If her execution pushes through, she would be the eight (8th) Filipino on death row to be executed under one regime. Like others before her, she was not provided proper legal assistance and counsel by the Philippine government until the last minute. The Philippine government has thus far failed to show transparency and accountability for failing to save the lives of Filipinos on death row.

We also hold the Philippine government accountable for failing to address the root causes of drug trafficking and other criminal activities that prey on the desperation of Filipinos. Our Filipinos will always be subjected to tragedies such as Mary Jane’s for as long as the government sticks to promoting a labor export policy unmindful of the welfare and protection of Filipinos abroad. Unless the Philippine government creates enough decent jobs at home to curb forced migration and trafficking, it will always be responsible for every life that is threatened, endangered or lost.

Our appeal is thus an appeal for mercy and compassion.  None would be happiest than Mary Jane’s two children. The children have not seen their mother for a long time. Even now, they, as the rest of the Filipino people, have not lost hope.

We appeal to you to heed our plea. Please save the life of Mary Jane Veloso. Our hope and prayers are with our compatriot and for a just and compassionate world. ###

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