Supporters hold send-off gathering for Veloso family’s prison visit to Mary Jane

A day before the Veloso family sets out to Indonesia for their prison visit to Mary Jane, a send-off gathering was held Monday morning, September 10 at the NCCP Conference Hall. The event was attended by the legal counsel, supporters and church workers from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

Postcard messages from Mary Jane’s supporters

Cesar Veloso accompanied by Mary Jane’s sons Daniel and Darren will be flying tomorrow, September 11 to Jakarta. Upon arrival, the family will be attending the Interfaith Mission for Solidarity and Service with Migrants, Refugees and Uprooted People which will be held from September 11 to 13. The event was organized by Indonesian Churches and migrant advocates among whom the Veloso family has already built significant support.

The Veloso family’s prison visit to Mary Jane will be on September 14 and 15.

During the send-off gathering, Migrante International spokesperson Arman Hernando expressed their call on the Duterte government to highlight the case of Mary Jane if it is really serious in combatting drug trafficking. “This is our chance to point out that victims like Mary Jane deserve support from the government and must not be treated as a criminal,” Hernando asserted.

Rebecca Lawson of the Church Task Force to Save Mary Jane added, “We still pray for a miracle, that the leaders of the land will have pity on Mary Jane and see her as someone who really deserves clemency.”

The Veloso family’s legal counsel, Attorney Josa Deinla, of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers, expounded on the Supreme Court petition filed on September 3. Atty. Deinla said, “Nowhere in the rules of court nor in the rules of criminal procedure prohibited the obtainment of Mary Jane’s deposition while on death row overseas.”

Deinla also argued that there is no violation on the rights of the accused since they will still be afforded the chance to give their side’s cross interrogatories on Mary Jane.

“Face to face confrontation is impossible under these circumstances because we cannot violate Indonesia’s sovereignty and its authority to impose their conditions but we have to remember that the Indonesian president wants to give Mary Jane the chance to testify that is why she was given a reprieve,” Deinla added.

Mary Jane’s father Cesar Veloso also decried the Duterte government’s treatment of their pleas. “We went to Malacanang four times but the president never faced us that is why we have come to the point that we elevated the case to the Supreme Court. Mary Jane really wants to reveal what she knows about the drug syndicate but we are clueless as to why it seems that the government does not want her to speak the truth,” Cesar lamented.

In January 10, on her 33rd birthday, Mary Jane issued a statement appealing to the Philippine government. “Pangulong Duterte, hininto po ang pagbitay sa akin dahil inako na po ni Christine at Kuya Julius na wala akong kasalanan at hindi ko po alam ang droga na nakuha sa loob ng bag na dala ko…Pangulong Duterte, buong puso po akong humihingi ng tulong sa inyo para payagan akong magtestigo sa kaso ni Christina Sergio doon sa Pilipinas para maibunyag ang katotohanan at maparusahan ang taong talagang may kasalanan,” Mary Jane entreated.

#SaveMaryJane Alliance and the Veloso family called on the people to build the broadest support for Mary Jane now that the last leg of the legal proceedings is underway. Upon their return, the Veloso family will commence their Supreme Court legal battle for Mary Jane’s right to speak the truth. ###