#SaveMaryJane update: Nueva Ecija RTC junks motion to dismiss cases vs. Sergio etal; DOJ resolution still pending


save mj tarp(1)Branch 37, Regional Trial Court-Baloc, Nueva Ecija yesterday denied the motion filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) lawyers of Kristina “Tintin” Sergio and Julius Lacanilao to quash or dismiss criminal charges of large-scale illegal recruitment and estafa filed against them by victims who came forward in light of the Mary Jane Veloso case.

The respondents on the Nueva Ecija RTC cases vs. Sergio etal are three other victims other than Mary Jane. Arraignment on the said case is scheduled on July 21, 10:00 in the morning. Sergio and Lacanilao are presently detained at the Nueva Ecija provincial jail.

Meanwhile, the cases of illegal recruitment, estafa and human trafficking filed by Mary Jane and her family against the two are still awaiting resolution at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“The development in the Nueva Ecija RTC case vs. Sergio etal is a very welcome update. We maintain that the Velosos’ case vs. Sergio etal is solid. That they have other victims who are willing to testify against them proves further Mary Jane’s innocence. We hope that this recent development prompts the DOJ to release its resolution on the pending cases filed by Mary Jane and the Velosos sooner than later,” said Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general.

 French national to face firing squad

Pillas said that the Veloso family and #SaveMaryJane supporters call on the DOJ and the PH government to ensure that the legal proceedings are being done with transparency and without delay, especially in light of news that the appeal for clemency for French death convict Serge Atlaoui has recently been rejected by the Indonesian government.

Atlaoui, like Mary Jane, was given a temporary reprieve by the Indonesian government and saved from the April 29 executions that killed eight other drug convicts via firing squad.

News reports from Indonesia state that the Indonesian government has announced Atlaoui’s execution, together with other murder convicts, after Ramadan. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is expected to release the complete names of those scheduled to be executed via firing squad by Eid al-Fitr.

 DOJ dialogue

On July 10, the Velosos and the #SaveMaryJane alliance will be holding a dialogue with DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima to inquire about developments on the pending criminal cases. Supporters will also be holding a liturgical gathering outside the DOJ.

“Mary Jane remains on the brink of death for as long as the death sentence is not lifted. It is incumbent upon the DOJ and the PH government to act with considerable haste and urgency, and to regularly update its counterpart, the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office (AGO), and the Veloso family, on the developments of the cases filed against Sergio etal,” Pillas said.

According to Pillas, the latest information they got from their Indonesian colleagues is that the AGO has reiterated that Mary Jane’s reprieve is but temporary and they are yet to be updated on the legal developments here in the Philippines. “It has been more than two months and they are still waiting for updates. Please, let us not abuse the Indonesian government’s patience and tolerance. Every minute still counts.”

 1M signatures to #SaveMaryJane

Migrante International will also be bringing the change.org/savemaryjane petition to the streets with the aim to gather one million signatures to #SaveMaryJane. The online petition already has 429,694 supporters as of this posting.

“Because it is primarily an online petition campaign, we will be gathering actual signatures and then submit the petitioners’ email addresses to change.org. We enjoin other supporters worldwide to the same. We need to convey anew to the Indonesian government that there is an ongoing widespread worldwide appeal to #SaveMaryJane as they prepare for scheduled executions post-Ramadan,” Pillas said.

Pillas said that they plan to submit the petition signatures to the Indonesian embassy in Manila on July 29, third month since Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve. ###