On September 26, the last hearing for the presentation of prosecution witnesses in the cases for human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa filed against Mary Jane Veloso’s recruiters namely Ma. Cristina P. Sergio and Julius Lacanilao will be held at the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC). Migrante International ardently yearns for the Supreme Court to uphold the right of Mary Jane Veloso to present her testimony via written deposition.
As a victim of human trafficking, it is incumbent that Mary Jane Veloso be allowed to participate in the legal process as it is the only way for the judicial authoritities to accord her the chance to see that perpetrators are brought to justice. It is the major function of the criminal justice system to ensure that victims like Mary Jane Veloso obtain redress through judicial procedures.
The country’s Anti-Trafficking Act adopted from the UN Protocol underscores a “victim-centred approach” to minimize retraumatization of victims. Languishing in prison for almost a decade, Mary Jane Veloso is currently being made to pay for a crime she did not commit. Worst, vital testimony against a big international drug trafficking syndicate remains unheard by entities in our very own criminal justice system following the Court of Appeals decision to deny Mary Jane Veloso of her appeal to testify against her traffickers in the only mode allowed by Indonesian authorities.
The plight of migrants wretched by government negligence and inaction is epitomized in the life of Mary Jane Veloso herself. May the Supreme Court rise to the occasion and bring deliverance to Mary Jane who walks through the valley of the shadow of death on a daily basis. She is still on death row and the time to save her life is now.
May her voice be heard as we amplify our struggle to uphold the rights of those who are forever condemned to neglect and oblivion. Migrante International calls on all Filipinos to gird on their armour in the battle to end the scourge of illegal trafficking. May justice prevail and we long for the day when Mary Jane Veloso will finally be reunited with her loved ones just as we long for a future where society will no longer be torn apart by the need to survive.