OFW and Church-based groups hope that SC will finally issue ruling on Mary Jane Veloso before 28 October to allow her to testify

With the petition for Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition still left hanging in the Supreme Court after more than a year, the prosecution went through the eye of the needle earlier to secure the green light for the presentation of its lone witness on 28 October. Supporters of Mary Jane Veloso heaved a sigh of relief after Nueva Ecija’s Regional Trial Court Branch 88 ruled in favour of the prosecution’s last ditch appeal. 

The Philippine Consul General has already made a commitment to appear at the 26 September court proceeding to present Mary Jane’s side but mandatory travel protocols prevented her from making it to the hearing. Meanwhile, the prosecution and supporters of Mary Jane are earnestly praying that the Philippine Supreme Court will finally grant Mary Jane Veloso the chance to present her testimony against her traffickers via written interrogatories before 28 October. 

Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers argued that between the accused couple Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao on one side and Mary Jane Veloso who is a human trafficking victim facing the death sentence on the other side, there is justifiable ground for the reset in the quest to complete the whole picture regarding the involvement of big international drug syndicates in victimizing unsuspecting migrants or travellers.

“Let us allow Mary Jane Veloso to give her side for after all, the defense will have its chance to cross examine her. We have so many OFWs who are vulnerable to human traffickers and these OFWs may find themselves in a grave situation like that of Mary Jane even if they are only victims,” Olalia said. 

If perchance the SC remains unsettled on the petition to allow Mary Jane Veloso to testify in the human trafficking case against Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, prosecutors will have no other recourse but to present the Consul General as witness in her place. 

Once Mary Jane Veloso is allowed to prove through her testimony that she is really a trafficking victim, Olalia said that it may pave the way for permanent reprieve, pardon or commutation of the sentence.

Prior to the court session, supporters under Save Mary Jane Alliance conducted an ecumenical prayer service. In their prayer, they recited, “we pray that she will receive compassion.  We pray that she will be able to speak the truth and testify before this court.” After the hearing, it was followed by a fellowship lunch with members of the Veloso family and their supporters. 

In the evening, a 6:00 pm solidarity mass for Mary Jane Veloso was conducted at the Sta. Cruz Church in Binondo, Manila. Church-based groups from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Migrante International along with other allies under the Save Mary Jane Alliance vowed to step up the campaign as letters of support poured in the past couple of weeks from various groups in the international community inquiring about latest developments on Veloso’s case and expressing their call to allow Mary Jane to testify. The letters were delivered straight to the Supreme Court.