Migrante International today called on PH authorities to urgently investigate incidents of harassment of the Veloso family by unidentified men in their hometown in Cabanatuan City.
Yesterday at around 11:00am, three unidentified “burly-looking” men arrived in motorcycles at the house of Nanay Celia Veloso. One of them had tattoos while the other sported a mohawk haircut, according to Mary Jane’s sister, Darling. The three men reportedly asked Mary Jane’s niece where the Velosos lived. “Noong tinanong sila kung bakit nila hinahanap, ang sabi nilang dahilan ay dahil daw nababagalan sila sa kaso ni Mary Jane at gusto raw nilang tumulong,” Darling said. The three men then took pictures of the house and promptly left.
“Pagkaalis nila, napansin namin na nawawala na iyong bantay naming aso. Kaya lalo kaming natakot,” said Darling. The guard dog, she said, “returned” to their house at around 12:00 midnight.
The Velosos immediately reported the incident to the barangay and had it recorded in the local police blotter. Tatay Cesar, who is currently in Manila to attend the preliminary investigation for the cases versus Kristina “Tintin” Sergio etal at the Department of Justice (DOJ), personally called local police to seek protection for the famiy.
This incident came after Darling got a suspicious call from an unidentified man last May 7. The mysterious caller had asked for the whereabouts of Maritess, Mary Jane’s other sister. Because the caller refused to identify himself, Darling became suspicious and declined to answer. “Binaba na niya iyong telepono noong kinukulit ko kung sino siya,” she said.
Darling said that she feared for Maritess’ safety who was then on her way to Manila for the May 8 preliminary investigation at the DOJ. Maritess, meanwhile, immediately reported the incident to their Philippine private lawyers at the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).
These incidents are not the first time that the Velosos experienced harassment since they came out in the open.
In their sworn statements, Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and Maritess said that mysterious vans and motorcycle-riding men have been frequenting their community, asking townsfolk where they lived. “Kapag tinuturo naman nila (neighbors) hindi naman tumutuloy. Ang tatay ni Mary Jane ay hindi na nakakatulog. Nagbabantay na lang sa aming bahay gabi-gabi. Nag-aalala rin po ako para sa aking mga apo,” Nanay Celia had said.
According to Migrante International Deputy Secretary-General Mic Catuira, these incidents of harassment need urgent attention and investigation by PH authorities. “Obviously, Mary Jane’s case is a high-profile case possibly involving big drug and trafficking syndicates. The Veloso family has every right and reason to raise the alarm and seek protection. There is an apparent intent by mysterious entities to scare or silence the Velosos who have been consistent in asserting Mary Jane’s innocence, a fact that even Sergio etal had belatedly affirmed in their respective sworn statements.”
“Pero kahit na ano’ng gawin nilang pananakot sa pamilya namin, hindi nila kami mapipigil na ipagpatuloy ang laban para kay Mary Jane,” Maritess said. ###