#FreeMaryJane On AGO statement that death penalty is no longer Indonesia’s priority


thank you card(1)“We welcome this very positive statement coming from the Indonesian Attorney General who has been known for his ‘hard stance’ on the death penalty. This brings hope to Mary Jane’s family, all her supporters worldwide, and human rights advocates who continue to appeal to #FreeMaryJane. We are reinvigorated by this good news. It is now clearly incumbent upon the Philippine justice system to uphold Mary Jane’s innocence. Let us all continue to unite in prayer and collective action for Mary Jane’s permanent reprieve from death row,” said Mic Catuira, Migrante International deputy secretary-general.

Trial for cases of illegal recruitment and estaga filed by several witnesses against Mary Jane’s recruiters is set on September 18 at the Regional Trial Court in Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija.

The cases of qualified trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa filed at the Department of Justice by Mary Jane and her family against Sergio etal, meanwhile, have also been raffled to the same Nueva Ecija RTC and are still awaiting trial. ###

#SaveMaryJane Breaking: Unidentified men harassing Veloso family in Cabanatuan

The Veloso family in prayer. Photo by dailymail.co.uk

The Veloso family in prayer. Photo by dailymail.co.uk

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. ###

Appeal for Continued Unity and Action to #FreeMaryJane

thank you card(1)On behalf of the Veloso family and the Filipino nation, we thank all supporters of the #SaveMaryJane campaign. We express our most heartfelt solidarity with all peoples of the world who worked vigorously and unrelentingly to save Mary Jane Veloso’s life until the last minute.

We especially convey our highest salute and camaraderie with our fellow Indonesian migrant workers who led the #SaveMaryJane campaign in their homeland. Truly they have shown admirable internationalism that Filipino migrant workers around the world vow to emulate. We recognize that their appeal to Pres. Widodo was a crucial factor in the suspension of Mary Jane’s execution. Terima kasih! We are one with you. We fight the same fight against forced migration and labor export that have long exploited our migrant workers and put them in grave danger.

We did not waiver. We said that only the people can save Mary Jane, and the people have prevailed.

The Indonesian government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence on Mary Jane until all proceedings in the Philippines are finished. This means that we must now focus our efforts and exert pressure on the Philippine government to bring justice for Mary Jane as a victim of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and drug trafficking.

Last May 6, Philippine authorities have finally arrested Ma. Kristina “Tintin” Sergio and her live-in partner, Mary Jane’s god-brother Julius Lacanilao. They have been charged with estafa, illegal recruitment and human trafficking by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the basis of complaints filed by Mary Jane’s parents, Celia and Cesar, and sister Maritess, and other witnesses/victims who recently surfaced.

We welcome this very positive development. Mary Jane’s case is finally on the right track. Sergio etal’s arrest will boost calls to #FreeMaryJane and bring her home to her family and her two little boys. The case is now in the stages of preliminary investigation. Mary Jane and the Veloso family’s retained private Philippine lawyers, led by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), and supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), have expressed willingness to work with Philippines authorities to bring Mary Jane’s traffickers behind bars.

We welcome this development but we remain vigilant. Let us all continue to work together to bring Mary Jane home to her family. With our continuous collective prayer, actions and solidarity, with renewed commitment and resolve, we shall #FreeMaryJane.

Recommended Actions:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on Philippine authorities to fast-track the prosecution and ensure the conviction of Sergio etal.      


You may send you communications to:


H.E. President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III

Office: JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph


Hon. Alberto del Rosario

Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils

Phone: (+632) 834-7374

Fax: (+632) 832-1597

Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph 


Hon. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Office: Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 521-1908 / 526-5462
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email Address: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / lmdelima.doj@gmail.com


Atty. Virgilio Mendez

Director, National Bureau of Investigation

Office: NBI Building. Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 524-5084/ 524-0407/ 521-2402

Fax: (+632) 525-6895

Email: director@nbi.gov.ph


Chief State Counsel Ricardo V. Paras III

Officer-in-Charge, Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking

Office: c/o Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 523-8481 loc. 216

Fax:  (+632) 526-2748

Email: contactus@iacat.net, rvparas@doj.gov.ph


Usec. Arturo G. Cacdac Jr.

Director General, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

Office: NIA Northside Road, National Government Center, Pinyahan, Quezon City

Telephone: (+632) 927-9702


  1. Continue to disseminate and sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/indonesian-pres-joko-widodo-jokowi-do2-save-the-life-of-human-trafficking-victim-mary-jane-veloso  
  2. Like and circulate to all networks the Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso Facebook page: http://www.fb.com/SaveMJVeloso


Please send a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:



45 Cambridge St., Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines

Telefax: (+632) 9114910

Email: migrante2007@yahoo.com.ph

Facebook: fb.com/SaveMJVeloso, fb.com/migranteinternational

Twitter: @migrante_intl

#SaveMary Jane TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Let the facts speak for themselves

save mj tarp(1)

This timeline is based on the sworn affidavits of Celia, Cesar and Maritess, Mary Jane’s mother, father and sister; a timeline given, upon request, by the DFA to the Velosos; the personal knowledge of Migrante and the National Union of People’s Lawyers of actions taken for the #SaveMaryJane campaign; and, Department of Foreign Affairs and Malacanang statements released to the media. 
All formal and official documents mentioned in this timeline are kept in file by Migrante and NUPL. 
In the spirit of transparency.
Submitted officially to the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs of the Philippine House of Representatives in today’s hearing and deliberations on resolutions inquiring, in aid of legislation, into the case of Mary Jane Veloso and other Filipinos on death row and the Philippine government’s responses thereto. 

– Migrante Internatonal Media Desk


Mary Jane Veloso case: Timeline of Events

Prepared by Migrante International and the National Union of People’s Lawyers

Updated as of June 10, 2015



January – Mary Jane returned to the Philippines after working for ten months as a domestic worker in Dubai. She returned to Manila without finishing her two-year contract because the cook of her employer attempted to rape her.


April 18 – Mary Jane was approached by her  godsister Ma. Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, a resident of Talavera, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, and was promised a job as a domestic worker in Malaysia. She was illegally recruited.


April 21 – Mary Jane and Tintin left for Malaysia. When they arrived in Malaysia, Tintin told her that the supposed job was no longer available but she could still find work elsewhere. They stayed there for a few days before Tintin sent her to Indonesia allegedly for a seven-day holiday, after which she would go back to Malaysia for employment.


April 25 – Mary Jane was apprehended by the Customs and Excise Authorities at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, upon arrival due to alleged possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin supposedly secretly stashed in a bag given to her by the brother of Tintin’s boyfriend in Malaysia without Mary Jane’s knowledge, consent or intention.

April 27 – Mary Jane’s parents received a call from her in-laws informing them that Mary Jane arrived safely in Malaysia. They visited Tintin in Talavera and she told them that Mary Jane’s employer was “very kind”. Tintin also gave them clothes and milk, supposedly bought by Mary Jane for her youngest son, Mark Darren.


May 9 – Mary Jane called her family to wish her father a happy birthday.


May 11 – Mary Jane’s sister Darling received a cryptic text message from her telling her to take care of her children.


May 12 – Darling received another cryptic text message from Mary Jane, prompting the family to call her up. Mary Jane then told them that she was in jail. A few hours after, they called her up again and she told them the events that transpired before she was apprehended in Indonesia.


May 13 – Mary Jane’s family went to Tintin’s house in Talavera. Tintin told them to “keep silent, don’t tell anyone and don’t approach the media”. Tintin also allegedly told them that should they fail to keep quiet, Mary Jane and the rest of the family would be in grave danger because “she (Tintin) belongs to an international drug syndicate”.  Tintin also allegedly told them that the syndicate would spend millions just to get Mary Jane out of jail.


August – Mary Jane’s family decided to go to Manila despite Tintin’s warning to ask for help from some media outfits.  They also went to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to report Mary Jane’s case. They were met by case officer Patricia Mocom who promised to assist them and help Mary Jane.


Since then, the family religiously went back to the DFA Manila to request for updates on Mary Jane’s case. They also sought the help of their Mayor and Governor, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation, police and authorities in Cabanatuan City. They were told by the NBI that they could not file any complaints against Tintin due to lack of evidence.


At various times, members of the Veloso family have also approached the PDEA, the Office of the Vice President and Malacanang for help.


October 4 – Public Prosecutor Sri Anggraeni presented before the Sleman District Court the recommendation for life imprisonment as penalty for Mary Jane’s offense. Mary Jane was represented by court-appointed pro bono lawyer Edy Haryanto apparently recommended by the police themselves


October 11 – The District Court of Justice of Sleman in Yogjakarta sentenced Mary Jane with the death penalty.


October 22 – The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta reportedly filed an appeal with the Appeals Court of Yogjakarta.


October 25 – Mary Jane’s family received a call from her to wish her son a happy birthday. Since then, they had been able to communicate with Mary Jane regularly via phone. They told Mary Jane to write an affidavit, and send it to them via mail, detailing the events that led to her arrest to be used for the complaint they wanted to file at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against Tintin.


October 27 – PH embassy recommended the hiring of a private lawyer for Mary Jane for the appeal stage, prompting the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) to authorize the disbursement of an initial USD$5,000 from the Legal Assistance Fund to hire the services of the Indonesian firm Rudyantho & Partners Law Office.


November – The family received post mail from Mary Jane containing photos but no affidavit. They called Mary Jane who was in turn surprised that her affidavit did not reach the family. She said that she would be sending them her affidavit again soon.


December – The family received another post mail from Mary Jane, again containing photos and a bandanna from a priest, but still no affidavit. They immediately reported this to Mary Jane who confirmed that she sent her affidavit along with the rest of the mail’s contents.




The family reported the missing contents of Mary Jane’s mail to Joseph Ladip of PDEA.


February 10 – The Court of Appeals of Yogjakarta upheld Mary Jane’s death penalty sentence.


February 21 – Embassy-hired lawyer Rudyantho filed a Memorandum of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Indonesia on behalf of Mary Jane.


February 22 – The Philippine Embassy reportedly appealed the case to the Supreme Court in Jakarta.


May 31 – The Supreme Court upheld Mary Jane’s death penalty.


August 23 – Pres. Benigno Aquino III intervened a year after Veloso had already been sentenced to death, through a request for clemency with then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono who imposed a moratorium on executions during his term.


October 10 – Ambassador Maria Rosario Aguinaldo forwarded Pres. Aquino’s Letter of Clemency to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.




October 11 – The Veloso family received a hysterical call from Mary Jane. She begged them to help her because her sentence had been upheld in all courts. She told them that she was to be executed in a week’s time.


On the same day, the family rushed to the DFA. They were able to talk to Patricia who told them that the news was false and that the DFA had not received any news or reports from Indonesia.


The family also went to PDEA for another attempt to file a case against Tintin. They were told that they could not file due to lack of evidence.


October 12 – The family called Mary Jane to tell her about what Patricia said. She tearfully asserted that what she told them was true and that it was already all over the news. They called Patricia but she again denied Mary Jane’s claims. A few minutes after, Patricia called them back and told them that the news was indeed true.




April – Mary Jane called her parents and told them to apply for passports because her police friends, Puri and Bita, and her fellow inmates agreed to sponsor their visit to her in jail.


June 5 – Mary Jane’s parents and eldest son Mark Danielle left for Indonesia. They stayed there for almost a month and were able to visit Mary Jane daily during the duration of their stay.


June 29 – The family arrived back in Manila.


July – Mary Jane sent her sister Maritess her hand-written affidavit via courier (LBC).




December 30 – Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo issued Presidential Decision No. 31/G – 2014 rejecting the request for clemency on behalf of Mary Jane.




January – The family received a call from Mary Jane. She told them to seek assistance from anyone willing to help because she was scheduled for execution soon. Maritess called the DFA and was informed that Patricia had been replaced by Violet Ancheta as case officer for Mary Jane’s case. Violet told them that the news was false.


January 19 – Atty. Rudyantho filed the (first) Application for Judicial Review of Mary Jane’s case at the District Court of Justice of Sleman, Yogjakarta.


January 28 – DFA Sec. Del Rosario handed a letter to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retnu L.P. Marsudi at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Kota Kinabalu, requesting Indonesian authorities to give due course to the Application for Judicial Review of Mary Jane’s case.


February 2 – Migrante learned that a Filipina is set to face death row by firing squad in Indonesia. The name of the Filipina had not been released yet. Migrante immediately contacted its allied migrant organization in Indonesia, ATKI, to inquire and verify.


February 4 – Marsudi replied to Sec. Del Rosario ensuring that all available legal measures have been undertaken in accordance  with Indonesian laws.


February 6 – Migrante got an email from its networks in Indonesia confirming that a certain “Mary Jane” is indeed on death row in Indonesia.


February 9 – Pres. Aquino reportedly appealed Mary Jane’s case to Pres. Widodo during the latter’s state visit to the Philippines.


February 14 – Migrante got Mary Jane’s full name from Indonesian contacts and started to locate the whereabouts of her family in the Philippines. It was around this time that it was relayed to Migrante that Mary Jane told her spiritual adviser, Father Kiser, that she preferred not to involve her family because she feared for their safety and to just wait for the decision of the first judicial review.


February 16 – DFA forwarded to the Indonesian Embassy in Manila a copy of Pres. Aquino’s letter to Pres. Widodo on the Petition for Judicial Review of Mary Jane’s case. DFA also forwarded said letter to the PH Embassy in Jakarta.


February 18 – Mary Jane’s parents, sister Maritess and her two sons were able to visit Mary Jane in Indonesia through the DFA. They were accompanied by Violet.


February 22 – The family returned to the Philippines. Before they returned, Chito Mendoza, attaché’ of the Philippine Embassy asked for Mary Jane’s hand-written affidavit from Maritess.


March 3 – The Sleman District Court held the first hearing where the defense informed the court of the reasons for the Application of Judicial Review relating to the lapses in the proceedings at the trial court in 2010: 1) the problem in translations, 2) the qualifications of the court-appointed translator, and 3) the language barrier.


March 4 – The lower court handed down its decision ordering the endorsement of the case filed to the Supreme Court in Jakarta to proceed with the Judicial Review. This initial stage of the Judicial Review was for the trial court to determine if there is merit for the review of the case by the Indonesian Supreme Court.


March 9 – OFW Joven Esteva was executed via beheading in Saudi Arabia. His family  was surprised to belatedly learn about his execution in the news. In a statement, Migrante called on the DFA to divulge its plans for Mary Jane in light of Esteva’s execution. No statement was released by the DFA to acknowledge, confirm or deny Mary Jane’s predicament.


March 25 – The Indonesian Supreme Court rejected the Petition for Judicial Review.


March 30 – Migrante was finally able to locate the Veloso family in their home in Brgy. Caudillo, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.


March 31 – PDEA submitted a report to the PH embassy based on Mary Jane’s testimony after its visit with her last March 29. The report was in English and needed to be translated officially to Bahasa.


March 31 – Migrante released an Appeal for Urgent Action to all its networks, allied organizations and member organizations worldwide. The Appeal circulated quickly and gathered overwhelming support.


April 1 – Migrante held a picket at the Indonesian embassy, and submitted an Open Letter to Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo


April 6 – Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar, Maritess and Mary Jane’s two children arrived in Manila. Migrante held a metro-wide candle-lighting in different communities.


April 7 – The Veloso family held a press conference in front of the DFA main office in Manila bewailing the government’s lack of action and transparency on Mary Jane’s case.


Migrante sought the help of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL). The Veloso family agreed to take on the NUPL’s pro bono services for Mary Jane’s case in a meeting held at the Migrante office with NUPL secretary-general Atty. Edre Olalia. It was at this time that the picture of Tintin was disclosed by the Veloso family. A written retainer agreement was executed to this effect.


April 8 – Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and the two kids went to the Indonesian embassy to submit their appeal letter to Widodo.


Migrante issued a press statement calling on PH authorities to arrest Tintin because it will be crucial to Mary Jane’s appeal. During all this time, Tintin was just sitting pretty in her house in Talavera.


The NUPL legal team was formed to serve as Mary Jane and the Veloso family’s Philippine private lawyers.


April 9 – Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and Maritess accomplished their affidavits for review and verification by the NUPL.


The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) wrote Pres. Widodo asking that Mary Jane’s conviction be overturned on procedural and substantive grounds


April 10 – Mary Jane’s supposed original schedule of execution. Migrante held a rally in Mendiola with the Veloso family. No word nor statement from the DFA or Pres. Aquino came out. On the same day, the Indonesian government released a statement to the media that no executions were to take place until after the  conclusion of the Bandung Conference on April 24.


Nanay Celia and Tatay Cesar submitted a letter to the DFA informing it that they have engaged the pro bono services of NUPL as their Philippine private lawyers and requesting copies of all documents pertinent to Mary Jane’s case.


April 11 – Migrante and NUPL held a Skype meeting with ATKI and the International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) and foreign lawyers who volunteered to help in Mary Jane’s case. By then, ATKI was already trying to get in touch with some lawyers from Rudyantho & Partners (R&P) and efforts to connect NUPL with them were underway. The trafficking angle for the filing of the second judicial review was discussed after fast and furious research done by the NUPL.


April 13 – The DFA replied to Nanay Celia and Tatay Cesar’s letter only to inform them that they still do not have custody of the documents they requested and that all documents are still in Bahasa.


Atty. Olalia solicited the institutional support of the IBP through its President Atty. Vicente Joyas who readily agreed in principle to support the NUPL in the case.


April 14 – NUPL submitted a formal letter to the DFA reiterating its representation of the Veloso family and  to request pertinent legal documents on Mary Jane’s case as the Velosos’ private legal counsel. NUPL also asked DFA to connect them to the Indonesian lawyers R&P as the retained PH lawyers of Mary Jane and the Velosos. The DFA did not acknowledge or reply to this letter at all. (Another letter dated May 4 was sent by NUPL to DFA but the same remains unacknowledged and unanswered up to now.).


April 15 – Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and Maritess finalized their affidavits, signed, sworn and notarized by the NUPL.


Atty. Olalia held a Skype conference with an Indonesian allied lawyer and was briefed on the Indonesian legal and judicial system, the protocol for executions and the potential channels by which NUPL can be linked up with the embassy-retained Indonesian lawyers of Mary Jane.


April 16 – NUPL submitted a first batch of letter-complaints to the PDEA, NBI and Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT)/Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting that “the appropriate steps and investigation be initiated and conducted on Maria Kristina P. Sergio @ Tintin, for violation of both local and international laws such as Republic Act 10022 or the Amended Migrant Workers Act and pertinent international laws against drug trafficking as well as for possible violations of the human trafficking laws, laws on illegal recruitment and for other related crimes”.


April 17 – NUPL submitted follow-up letters to PDEA, NBI and IACAT, attaching sworn affidavits of Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and Maritess. NUPL also asked IACAT/DOJ to “undertake the necessary and appropriate measures…to ensure the safety of (their) clients as well as other members of their immediate families who are vulnerable to reprisals from the malevolent malefactors responsible for putting Mary Jane in such horrible situation”.


Maritess and Connie Bragas-Regalado of Migrante flew to Indonesia to coordinate with ATKI and other networks in Jakarta for the campaign to save Mary Jane’s life. Purpose of their trip was to act as “advanced team” for the consequent trip to Indonesia of NUPL and other members of the Veloso family.


Atty. Olalia spoke to Atty. Theresa Dizon-De Vega, Chief Coordinator, Office of the DFA Secretary, regarding their letters to the DFA and OUMWA. Atty. Olalia asked her to connect him directly with OUMWA Usec. Yabes, the DFA officer on the case as well as a certain Roberto Manalo (who turns out to be the consul general in Jakarta) and to coordinate with NUPL as the Philippine private lawyers of the Velosos. She verbally said and later replied further in a text message that she has relayed Atty. Olalia’s messages and “concerns”  to Usec. Yabes.  Atty. De Vega has not communicated since with Atty. Olalia or NUPL. Usec. Yabes remains silent up to date.


Attys. Olalia and Minerva Lopez met with IBP President Joyas and IBP National Center for Legal Aid Director Atty. June Ambrosio to discuss the details and parameters of the NUPL-IBP cooperation in the case.


April 18 – 1:00 am, Maritess and Connie’s arrival in Jakarta. They had a brief orientation with ATKI and were able to set meeting schedules with Komnas Perempuan (the Indonesian commission against violence on women), church networks, Legal Aid Foundation and Migrant Care. They were also able to finally secure a meeting with Rudyantho & Partners, Mary Jane’s Indonesian lawyers.


10:00 am, Connie and Maritess, with the help of ATKI, had a meeting with Ambassador Maria Lumen Isleta. Also present in the meeting were Consul General Roberto Manalo and Consul Shirlene Mananquil. In the meeting, they clarified information based on the timeline given by the DFA upon the Veloso family’s request. They were able to confirm that ConGen Manalo had no idea if the Customs and Excise people at the Yogjakarta airport informed the PH Embassy of Mary Jane’s arrest, and what happened during the time of the arrest to the time the Supreme Court convicted her and sentenced her to death. He  claimed that he was not yet with the PH Embassy when Mary Jane was arrested and that he “will check Mary Jane’s case profile”.


They were also able to confirm that Atty. Agus Salim is a partner at the Rudyantho & Partners law firm. They were also surprised to learn that all documents and court decisions on Mary Jane’s case were still in Bahasa and not in the custody of the PH Embassy. They inquired about Mary Jane’s handwritten account that was supposedly given by the family to ATN Officer Chito Mendoza. The embassy officials denied knowledge of such document and said that “it has to be checked”. They, however, acknowledged that they received a copy of the DFA timeline.


Connie and Maritess provided the embassy officials with copies of NUPL’s letters to the DOJ, PDEA and NBI and the engagement letter between the Veloso family and NUPL and clarified the role of the NUPL as the Veloso family’s retained Philippine lawyers.


Ambassador Isleta expressed openness to coordinate with anyone willing to help, including Migrante and NUPL, and arranged a meeting with R&P on Monday, April 20. She also committed to endorse a visit to Mary Jane to the prosecutor’s office through Mary Jane’s Indonesian lawyers.


3:00pm, Connie and Maritess met with Fr. Andang Binawan, SJ, Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Jakarta, Fr. Benny Juliawan, SJ, and Sr. Lia of the Religious of the Good Shepherd. They explained Mary Jane’s case to them. They arranged to visit local churches and promised to provide accommodations and other logistical support.


On the same day, they were also able to talk to Atty. Rudyantho over the phone and he said that he already knew about their visit. He said that a visit to Mary Jane in jail was possible provided that they be able to acquire authorization from the PH Embassy.


April 19 – Connie and Maritess visited local churches in Indonesia with the RGS sisters for the whole day. They were able to meet Fr. Harold Maurin Toledano, OAD, Order of Discalced Augustinians. They discussed about Mary Jane’s case. The priest led a prayer for Mary Jane in a mass attended by 300 people.


7:00 pm, they had a meeting with Yuri Asry, Task Force on Migration coordinator of Komnas Perempuan, to discuss Mary Jane’s case. She informed them that they had been visiting Mary Jane in prison for the past three years to conduct interviews in relation to lobby efforts with the office of Pres. Widodo. She said that they had already sent a letter of appeal to Pres. Widodo to grant Mary Jane a chance to prove that she is a victim of trafficking. She also gave them a copy of Mary Jane’s handwritten appeal to Pres. Widodo.


Yuri also told them about ConGen Manalo’s “bad-mouthing” of Migrante to Mary Jane. She said that the ConGen told Mary Jane that Migrante had allowed her kids to be exposed under the heat of the sun in rallies, particularly in the previous rallies at the Indonesian Embassy in Manila. She said that ConGen said that “rallies will affect her case” and dissuaded Mary Jane from allowing Migrante to visit her.


April 20 – In Manila, Migrante and supporters of the Save Mary Jane campaign held a picket at the Indonesian embassy in time for the opening of the Bandung Conference. In Jakarta, 9:00am, Connie and Maritess met with R&P lawyers Attys. Ismail Mohammad, Agus Salim and Siska Apriliani. They reiterated requests for court documents and a jail visit to Mary Jane. They were informed by the lawyers that all documents/court decisions were still in Bahasa. They also arranged for a meeting in Jakarta with NUPL lawyers the following day.


11:00 am, they had another meeting with Komnas Perempuan.


2:00 pm, NUPL held a press conference together with Atty. Ambrosio at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Atty. Ambrosio publicly reiterated the support and cooperation of the IBP in the case. NUPL raised the human trafficking-drug trafficking intersection as a legal approach. It also raised several questions indicating badges of negligence or missteps on the part of the Philippine government.


5:00 pm, a meeting with Communication of Churches in Indonesia. Present in the meeting were Dr. Alphinus Kambadji, chairperson; Rev. Krise Anki Gosal, Deputy Secretary-General; and four (4) others. They committed to write an appeal to Pres. Widodo, to offer prayers and provide logistical support for the Veloso family, Migrante and NUPL lawyers who were scheduled to arrive the next day.


7:00 pm, they discussed Mary Jane’s case in a mass meeting held by ATKI.


April 21 – Atty. Edre Olalia and Atty. Minnie Lopez of NUPL flew to Indonesia together with Tatay Cesar.


10:00 am, Connie and Maritess had meeting with the PH Embassy.

2:00 pm, they proceeded to a meeting with R&P.

4:00 pm, they met with Legal Aid Foundation.

5:00 pm, they met with Anis of Migrant Care and planned actions in the following days.


Migrante also issued an Open Letter to ASEAN Heads of State, distributed and signed by various ASEAN organizations during the ASEAN People’s Forum held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


April 22 – Nanay Celia led a picket rally in front of the DFA together with families of other OFWs on death row.


In Jakarta, Atty. Olalia spoke to Mary Jane over cellphone at great lengths. She agreed to validate the decision of her family to take NUPL as her Philippine private lawyers.


1:00 pm, Atty. Olalia, Atty. Lopez, Connie of Migrante, Tatay Cesar, Maritess and Iweng of ATKI  met for two hours with Atty. Agus Salim and Atty. Ismail Muhammad of R&P. In the meeting they were able to confirm the following:


  • That R&P was not able to receive any communications from the NUPL, directly or coursed through the DFA. It was only after Connie and Maritess talked to Yuni of Komnas Perempuan, an Indonesian women’s organization and network of ATKI, and through Yuni’s help that they were able to establish contact with the lawyers on April 20.


  • That the PH embassy only availed of R&P’s services on the appeal stage. Prior and during the trial, a court-appointed lawyer, similar to PH’s Public Assistance Office (PAO), represented Mary Jane.


  • That R&P had already requested the Aquino government to investigate Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, Mary Jane’s alleged recruiter and trafficker in 2011, even BEFORE the filing of the first petition for judicial review. This would have been instrumental for the appeal. They were, however, dismayed to learn that the PH government only attended to this AFTER the judicial review had been rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 25, 2015.


  • That it was only last week that the PH Embassy gave R&P the official translations of the first (District Court) and second (Appelas Court) verdicts on Mary Jane’s case.


  • That the PDEA report submitted to the embassy on March 31 was yet to be translated into Bahasa. R&P confirmed that the PH Embassy promised to give them the translated document the following day on April 23, almost a month after it was accomplished.


  • That the PDEA was yet to coordinate with its Indonesian counterpart, the Basan Narkotika Basional (BNN), for the comparison of the results of their respective investigations. Both R&P and the PH legal team were yet to be provided with the reports.


  • That the R&P and NUPL agreed to work hand-in-hand for the filing of the second judicial review on Mary Jane’s case pending all documents required from and provided by the PH government. The Indonesiand lawyers positively welcomed and were receptive to the human trafficking vis-a-vis drug trafficking angle and said they will add this approach as a supporting ground.


4:53 pm, immediately after meeting with R&P, Atty. Olalia sent a text message to DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima urgently asking, upon agreement with R&P,  for a certification from the IACAT that a letter-complaint for human trafficking had been filed against Tintin and for its status, saying that they will attach the same to the 2nd application for judicial review originally scheduled to be filed on April 28 as they were still waiting for the needed documents from the PH embassy.


The Veloso family, NUPL and Migrante attended a meeting with all Komnas Perempuan commissioners, attended by Chairperson Yuniyanti Chuzaifah and discussed further the case and the human trafficking vis-a-vis drug trafficking angle.


Attys Olalia and Lopez, Coni and Maritess held their first presscon.  (Daily multiple and frequent media live and taped interviews will be taken from Philippine, Indonesia and other foreign media outlets by them and other members of the Veloso family henceforth until they left Jakarta on April 30.)


April 23 – NUPL sent a follow through formal letter-request to the DOJ-IACAT asking for the certification on the complaint filed for human trafficking and other crimes against Tintin.


In Jakarta, the family, NUPL and Migrante met Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay upon his insistent request coursed posthaste through the PH embassy. He was on his way to attend the Bandung Conference. He informed them that he was able to talk to the Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs on Indonesia to discuss an appeal for clemency for Mary Jane. He said NUPL can take care of the legal approach and he will pursue the diplomatic approach. He also said that they learned that criminal complaints were already filed against Tintin on April 21. The whole PH embassy delegation headed by Ambassador Isleta and Consul General Manalo were present. Atty. Olalia approached them on their way out and expressed the willingness of NUPL as Philippine private lawyers of the Velosos to cooperate and collaborate in saving Mary Jane.


Maritess and Tatay Cesar went to the Philippine embassy to have their sworn statements of April 15, 2015 consularized by Consul Shirlene Mananquil.


At around 4:00 pm PH time, Nanay Celia and the two children flew to Indonesia with Pamela Pangilinan of Migrante. Atty. Judy Razon and Christine Panganiban, Foreign Service Officers of OUMWA-DFA travelled with them. Consul Shirlene Mananquil met them when they arrived.


NUPL, Maritess, Tatay Cesar, Migrante and ATKI met with the Filipino UP Alumni community who expressed support and solidarity.


April 24 – Mary Jane was transferred from her prison in Yogyakarta to Nusakumbangan Island at 1:25 am, Indonesia time.


The Veloso family, NUPL, Migrante, Indonesian lawyers and embassy and DFA officials took a flight to Yogyakarta. At the Yogyakatta airport, Atty. Olalia asked attaché Mr. Mendoza for the copy of Mary Jane’s handwritten account. He said that he gave it to Consul General Manalo.


Vice President Binay called Atty. Olalia and asked for an update and expressed regret he cannot join the trip to Yogyakarta.


On the way by land to Cilacap, the port city to Nusakambangan island, Atty. Olalia asked ConGen Manalo about the Mary Jane’s handwritten statement and replied “is that still needed?” Atty. Olalia said yes, especially for documentation purposes. ConGen Manalo even said that Mary Jane has a handwritten account she made in 2013.


The DFA in Manila held a press conference at around 10:00 in the morning saying that they have not yet received any reports that Mary Jane had been transferred to the island. They also announced that they had already filed a second judicial review to appeal Mary Jane’s case.


Atty. Olalia, however, confirmed that the second petition for judicial review had only been filed and received at exactly 3:50 pm, Indonesia time, at the District Court of Sleman, Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Atty. Olalia  met Atty. Ismail Muhhammad of R&P lawyers  on his way out of the court immediately after the filing.


At around 4:00pm PH time, Christopher, Mary Jane’s brother, and Michael, Mary Jane’s husband, flew to Indonesia.


April 25 – At past midnight upon arriving in Cilacap from a long land trip from Yogyakarta, the Velso family, NUPL and Migrante, together with the Indonesian lawyers and PH embassy and DFA officials, Puri, plus the Indonesian interpreter of the embassy and Fr. Kiser were summoned by the Indonesian prosecutors. At first, Attys. Olalia were not allowed to join the meeting but the prosecutors relented to allow only Atty. Olalia to sit in. He was asked for a written engagement as Philippine private lawyers which he produced and submitted, duly receipted by the prosecutor.


What they thought were mere discussions for a visit to the prison island turned out to be a service of the Order of Execution. The prosecutors initially said that there was already a “fixed date” but after further verification admitted that there was none yet. They also explained why Mary Jane had to be transferred posthaste from her Yogyakarta prison. After much discussion on details of the visit and the prospective execution itself, arrangements were made for a visit that same day. But despite fierce negotiations, Migrante representatives were not allowed to join.


First visit of the Veloso family to Mary Jane at Nusakambangan. They were accompanied by Atty. Olalia and Atty. Lopez.  She gave four handwritten letters which she wrote in January which the DFA officials decided to keep and take care of.


Nanay Celia, Maritess and Atty. Olalia confirmed that Mary Jane was given the 72-hour notice of execution at around 5:00 pm Philippine time when Mary Jane herself frantically called Maritess.


7:00 pm PH time, Migrante held a press conference at their office to announce the 72-hour notice and to call on the public to support the vigil at the Indonesian embassy to Save Mary Jane.


Mary Jane’s brother Christopher and ex-husband Michael Candelaria arrived in Cilacap.


April 26 – Darling, Mary Jane’s sister, arrived in Manila, along with two additional witnesses who gave testimonies to NUPL against Tintin.


Migrante started a 72-hour vigil at the Indonesian embassy. PH police troops attempted to disperse the vigil.


The whole Veloso family, Atty. Olalia, Indonesian lawyers, Indonesian prosecutor, Puri, PH embassy and DFA officials, Fr. Kiser and the PH embassy interpreter again visited Mary Jane and spent practically the whole day there in a very relaxed and cordial atmosphere.


Atty. Olalia and the Indonesian lawyers wanted to have a confidential lawyer-client consultation with Mary Jane on the possible legal scenarios but the Consul General invited himself in.


Actress Monique Wilson of Gabriela, who happened to be in Bali at that time, decided to join Migrante, NUPL and the Velosos in Cilacap.


Atty. Lopez left for Jakarta en route to Manila.


April 27 – Darling left for Indonesia. Day 2 of vigil ongoing.


Veloso family stepped out of the embassy-hired van and insisted on speaking before the international media people at the Cilacap port before taking the boat ride to make a last-ditch appeal to Pres. Widodo to spare Mary Jane.  They were told off by Judith Razon of DFA.  Ambassador  Isleta was also present.  She also reprimanded the family and told them that they blew off their chance to visit Mary Jane  because they are more interested in talking to the media.

Meanwhile, Atty. Olalia stayed in the van together with Mary Jane’s two sons and her father. He was surprised to have been informed that he will not be allowed to visit this time around. When he asked the Indonesian lawyer Ismail Muhammad, the latter said that security was being tightened because there was apparently a security breach by other visitors of the other prison inmates on death row. When Atty.Olalia asked the Consul General why he was being singled out, the latter said he does not know. When Atty. Olalia conceded not to protest and decided to waive his right to see and confer with his client, he left some words of advice to Tatay Cesar who was being bodily prevented by Ambassador Isleta to come near Atty. Olalia.

As of 12:14 pm, PH time, Migrante got word that Atty. Olalia was  excluded by embassy officials from accompanying his clients to their  third visit to Mary Jane in the island.


As of 1:04 pm, PH time, NUPL confirmed that they just got hold of the received copy of the application for second judicial review. Sleman Court said that they would release official decision by evening.


As of 8:00 pm, PH time, Atty. Lopez, straight from the airport, led the press conference held at the vigil site at the Indonesian embassy confirming that the second judicial review had been rejected by the Sleman Court.


As of around 2:00 am PH time, PH police again tried to disperse the vigil at the Indonesian embassy.


By this time, the Facebook Page, http://www.facebook.com/SaveMJVeloso, had already peaked at 16,000 likes in just a matter of hours. The change.org petition launched by the Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR) was already the fastest-growing petition, gathering at least 200,000 signatures worldwide.


April 28 – Pres. Aquino reportedly had a 5-minute side meeting with Pres. Widodo at the ASEAN conference in Malaysia.


As of 8:14 am, PH time, Migrante confirmed that Pres. Aquino’s appeal for clemency had been denied by Pres. Widodo, and called out for public support for the vigil at the Indonesian embassy.


At around 10:10 am, Jakarta time, Justice Secretary de Lima called Atty.Olalia and discussed the remaining legal options, including the possibility of a reprieve.


At around 10:30 am, Tintin had reportedly surrendered to the  Philippine police.


At around the same time, the DFA had released a statement saying that they have done everything they possibly could for Mary Jane.


As of 5:20pm, PH time, Migrante got news from ATKI that Widodo was in a meeting with Migrant Care, to talk about Mary Jane’s case. Migrant Care told Widodo that Tintin had surrendered to PH authorities. Widodo told them that Indonesian government would verify the implications of the surrender to Mary Jane’s case.


As of 6:45 pm, PH time, according to Andi Widjajanto, cabinet secretary, change of decision about Mary Jane could happen but it depended upon confirmation of the facts and the possible implications on existing laws. But it was still not clear how this could affect the schedule of the execution.


As of 7:10pm, PH time, Indonesian chief prosecutor announced that still nine convicts will face the firing squad. Indonesian Attorney General said that they do not want to set a precedent. He said that the decision is final and that they would go ahead with the   Execution.


An interview of Foreign Affairs Minister Marsudi on the appeal of President BS Aquino quted the former as saying. “why only now?  First reason was interpreter, and now she was a victim.”  Indonesian authorities say the last-minute appeal was just “an alibi.” President BSA publicly justified this by saying that Mary Jane was supposedly “uncooperative at first” and that it was only now that the case became clear to them.


As of 7:50 pm, PH time, Atty. Olalia, in a text message, told supporters to “intensify further and make stronger and broader calls to pressure/appeal/implore Widodo to still reconsider up to the last moment”.


Indonesian migrant and church workers had also released to the international public the Attorney General’s mobile number, calling on supporters to barrage him with text messages pleading for Mary Jane’s life.

At around 8:00 pm, Jakarta time, Mary Jane’s sisters Maritess and Darling were then summoned to go to Nusakambangan, a clear and categorical sign that the execution would proceed. Atty. Olalia then texted Manila and said that there is already a shift in the preparations, that he apologetically  “could not bring home alive” the mother of the two kids but he hoped that he was wrong anyway.


By 9:00 pm, PH time, Maritess and Darling had already been transported to the island. The rest of the family accompanied by Coni of Migrante and PDFA officials  decided to go back to Jakarta  with heavy hearts. Atty. Olalia and Pam of Migrante, together with ATKI and Komnas Perempuan and Monique Wilson decided to stay behind in Cilacap and wait.


As of 11:02pm, PH time, Atty. Olalia et al. confirmed that the Indonesian government had announced that execution would take place at 2:00 am Indonesia time (3:00 am PH time).


April 29


At around  1130 pm, ATKI was receiving unconfirmed reports from confidential sources through texts that “there was some development.”  Atty. Olalia advised ATKI to check, double check, verify and validate the veracity of the report. Then later unconfirmed information started coming in that only eight persons were executed and that Mary Jane was purportedly saved at the last minute. And finally, there was advise that it ws already in the news. ATKI, Pam and Atty. Olalia, together with Komnas Perembuan checked the Indonesian TV news at around 12:40 am (1:40 am PH time)and saw the incredible news that Mary Jane was indeed spared.


At 1:47 am, Ph time, Atty. Olalia called Migrante to give the good news that execution had been suspended until all proceedings in the Philippines are finished.


Vigil-goers and supporters from the Indonesian embassy proceeded to hold a “celebratory” rally in Mendiola.


April 30 – Atty. Olalia provided ConGen Manalo with NUPL’s written retainers as Mary Jane Veloso’s  and her family’s Philippine private lawyers which he duly receipted.


The Veloso family were able to visit and talk to Mary Jane at length back in Yogjakarta prison before they left for Manila. Her Indonesian and Philippine lawyers as well as Migrante and Filipino religious saw her from a distance and later hugged her silently.


ConGen Manalo told Mary Jane during this conversation with her family that Pres. Widodo will purportedly push with the execution if the family will not stop criticising President Aquino.  He spoke in Bahasa. But Mary Jane  translated it for the family.  Manalo did everything humanly possible to stop Mary Jane from writing confirming that she wants NUPL to be her Philippine private lawyer.  She was eventually able to give a handwritten legal engagement in Filipino and Bahasa.


May 1 – The Veloso family, Migrante and NUPL arrived in Manila and held a press conference at the Migrante office by lunch time. ###




#SaveMaryJaneVeloso Aquino gov’t lying through its teeth, even Indonesian lawyers dismayed with PH gov’t response on Mary Jane’s case – Migrante

L-R Atty. Minnie Lopez and Atty. Edre Olalia of NUPL, Maritess (sister), Cesar (father) and associates of Rudyantho & Partners Law Firm. Jakarta, Indonesia, April 22, 2015.

L-R Atty. Minnie Lopez and Atty. Edre Olalia of NUPL, Maritess (sister), Cesar (father) and associates of Rudyantho & Partners Law Firm. Jakarta, Indonesia, April 22, 2015.

Lies upon lies upon lies were revealed after Mary Jane Veloso’s Philippine legal team met with her Indonesian lawyers, Rudyantho & Partners (R&P), in Jakarta a day ago.

The PH legal team, led by Attys. Edre Olalia and Minnie Lopez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), held a dialogue with R&P in the presence of Mary Jane’s father, Cesar, and sister, Maritess, and Migrante Sectoral Party chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado. The PH legal team is still in Jakarta now to coordinate with R&P on the appeal for Mary Jane’s case.

In the said meeting, the following information disclosed how the Aquino government had been lying through its teeth when it said that “it had done everything” for Mary Jane:

  • It is NOT TRUE that the PH embassy provided Mary Jane with legal counsel and assistance “from the very start”. R&P made it clear, through its associate Atty. Agus Salim, that the PH embassy only availed of their services on the appeal stage. Prior and during the trial, a court-appointed lawyer, similar to PH’s Public Assistance Office (PAO), represented Mary Jane.
  • A few years back, R&P had already requested the Aquino government to investigate Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, Mary Jane’s alleged recruiter and trafficker, even BEFORE the filing of the first petition for judicial review. This would have been instrumental for the appeal. They were, however, dismayed to learn that the PH government only attended to this AFTER the judicial review had been rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 25, 2015.
  • It was only on April 16, 2015 that Mary Jane’s parents, through their NUPL lawyers whose pro bono services they acquired only on April 7, 2015, were able to file a letter-complaint against Sergio at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), PDEA and Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT). A certification from PH authorities, officially translated to Bahasa, is crucial to support the filing of the second judicial review. PH lawyers are still waiting for said certification.
  • It was ONLY LAST WEEK that the PH Embassy gave R&P the official translations of the first and second verdicts on Mary Jane’s case. It was on October 11, 2010 that the District Court of Justice of Sleman in Yogjakarta sentenced Mary Jane with the death penalty. The Court of Appeals of Yogjakarta upheld Mary Jane’s death sentence on February 10, 2011. 
  • The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), supposedly in aid of plans to submit a second petition for judicial review, submitted to the PH Embassy a report based on Mary Jane’s testimony after its visit with her last March 29, 2015. The PDEA report is in English and R&P was only provided an official Bahasa translation yesterday, April 23, 2015, almost a month after the PDEA got Mary Jane’s testimony. PDEA is yet to coordinate with its Indonesian counterpart, the Basan Narkotika Basional (BNN) for the comparison of the results of their respective investigations. Both R&P and the PH legal team are yet to be provided with the reports.
  • The Aquino government claims that Mary Jane’s execution is not imminent until all appeals of the Bali 9 have been duly resolved, this is NOT TRUE. R&P made it clear that the pendency of the Bali 9 appeals will not have a bearing on the implementation of her death sentence, hence the urgency for the PH government to provide them with all necessary documentation.

“These are the facts. Ang katotohanan ay walang ginawa ang gobyernong Aquino sa kaso ni Mary Jane, kaya nagkukumahog sila ngayon. Nasa bingit ng kamatayan ang isang inosente nating kababayan dahil sa kapabayaan at kawalang-pakialam ng gobyerno. Hindi ito bago. Ganito rin sa lahat ng mga OFW. Ganito rin sa Mamasapano. Ganito rin sa Hacienda Luisita. Ganito rin kay Jennifer Laude. Ganito rin kay Kristel Tejada. Ganito rin sa lahat ng Pilipino,” said Garry Martinez, Migrant International chairperson.

Martinez called on all supporters of the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign to hold the Aquino government accountable for criminal neglect on Mary Jane’s case.

“We call on all supporters of the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign to join us in protest actions. Let us all come together and come out to speak against this injustice on our kababayan, against this affront on an innocent’s life, against this disrespect for Filipino dignity. Aquino should stop Mary Jane’s execution or resign.” ###

#SaveMaryJaneVeloso More death row cases brought to govt’s attention; Veloso family troops to DFA with other disgruntled OFWs, kin

Mary Jane cheers up her mother Celia when she was visited by her family in prison in 2013. The jail visit was made possible by contributions from her inmates and jail guards.

Mary Jane cheers up her mother Celia when she was visited by her family in prison in 2013. The jail visit was made possible by contributions from her inmates and jail guards. Photo courtesy of the Veloso family.

The Veloso family today trooped to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) this time to bring to the agency’s attention other possible death row cases and neglected cases of other OFWs in jail.

Accompanying Mary Jane’s mother, Celia, was the mother of OFW Rose Policarpio Dacanay who is a candidate for death row in Saudi Arabia.

Rose was implicated in the murder of her employer in June 2013. She claims she fled the scene of the crime because the perpetrators attempted to rape her. According to her mother, Editha, her daughter went to the police to report the incident but was arrested and jailed instead. On February 2015, Rose disclosed that during the time of the investigation, a Jerome Frias of the Philippine Embassy forced her to admit to the crime in front of the Saudi police. She had been in Malaz jail for 21 months and awaiting sentence.

Also with them were the mothers and relatives of other OFWs in jail who have sought the help and legal assistance of the DFA but have been found wanting. (Please see attached matrix)

Yesterday, all of the families had a “solidarity lunch” with Russell Contemplacion, daughter of Flor, who expressed support for Mary Jane and the other OFWs and called on the government to give attention to their cases. “We hope that this would be given due attention. Twenty years ago, my mother Flor was executed. We were told that she would be the last. But she was not,” Russel said.

Like Mary Jane, all of them did not receive proper and sufficient legal assistance and legal aid from the Philippine government.

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez slammed the DFA’s “policy” that legal assistance is only given to OFWs who are already on death row. “This policy should be investigated and corrected immediately. It is a direct violation of the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers which clearly mandates that all OFWs in distress be given proper and sufficient legal assistance upon arrest and detention. Hindi iyong hinihintay pa nilang humantong sa death row bago sila pumasok sa eksena. Ang patakarang ito ng DFA ang nakamamatay sa ating mga OFW.”

For her part, Nanay Editha said, “Nandito kami para suportahan si Mary Jane. Kasama namin ang kanyang pamilya hanggang dulo. Ilalaban namin ito dahil ang laban para kay Mary Jane ay laban din para sa karapatan ng aming mga anak at kapamilya.”

Aquino veto on LAF in 2015 budget questioned

Martinez also probed Pres. Aquino’s veto of the Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) for the 2015 budget. In his Veto Message last December 2014, Aquino included the LAF in items in the General Appropriations Act 2015 placed under “conditional implementation” and subject to the approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The president’s veto also called for a creation of a so-called “special fund” for the LAF, suggesting that funds for the LAF will be sourced elsewhere other than what is stated in the law.

Republic Act 8042, amended by RA 10022, or the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers requires a P100-million LAF in the national budget sourced from the following: P50 million from the Presidential Social Fund, P30 million from the Contingency Fund of the President and P20-million from OWWA. He said that only an average of P30-million has been allocated for the LAF since Aquino became president in 2010.

He also demanded an explanation from the government on why funds for the LAF has been slashed since 2010, while there have been reports that at least P52 million in legal funds for OFWs were unused since 2011. “Kailangang magpaliwanag ni Aquino. Ibig bang sabihin nito pati ang LAF na-DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) na?” Martinez said.

Supporters of the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign will hold a rally at the Indonesian embassy on April 24, the deadline for the temporary reprieve on executions announced by the Indonesian government. ###

Matrix of possible death row and jailed cases

#SaveMaryJaneVeloso Update on Mary Jane Veloso case

save mj tarp(1)News Release

16 April 2015


Update on Mary Jane Veloso case:


Mary Jane Veloso family still awaiting Ph gov’t action to provide complete information & transparent update, copies of crucial court files, & link to embassy-appointed lawyer retained only after her conviction. 


Ph rights lawyers of Mary Jane family have linked up with Indonesian & foreign lawyers, support groups to cooperate & collaborate with all moves to stop or stay her execution. 


Her family lawyers & supporters are additionally appealing to UN Human Rights Council to exercise moral suasion & ask Indonesia to stop the impending execution. 


Family lawyers are asking gov’t agencies to immediately investigate her godsister for drug & human trafficking, illegal recruitment and other crimes. #




Edre U. Olalia

NUPL Secretary General




#SaveMaryJaneVeloso 3 things the Aquino gov’t should answer and account for

photo courtesy of Kathy Yamzon

photo courtesy of Kathy Yamzon

As calls to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso continue to gain steam nationwide and globally, public outrage against what has been established as the Aquino government doing “too little, too late” also continues to mount.

Mary Jane was not only a victim of international drug syndicates, but more tragically of a neglectful Philippine government, according to global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International.

Migrante International enumerates three main points that the Aquino government should answer and account for in Mary Jane Veloso’s case:

Like many others before her, Mary Jane was deprived of proper and sufficient legal assistance.

Mary Jane was not provided a lawyer or translator by the Philippine embassy upon her arrest in 2010. During her trial, the court-provided interpreter was not a duly-licensed translator by the Association of Indonesian Translators. Her lawyer during the course of her trial was a public defender provided by the Indonesian police.

It was only this year, when Mary Jane’s case was already up for a final judicial review, that the DFA appointed a private lawyer to represent Mary Jane, according to the Veloso family’s account.

As a result, Mary Jane was convicted after a very brief trial period – on October 2010, just six months after she was arrested. Public prosecutors asked the court to sentence Mary Jane to life imprisonment but the judges handed down a death sentence.

Migrante has long demanded an explanation from the Aquino government on why funds for legal assistance for OFWs in distress have been slashed since 2010, while presumably at least P52 million in legal funds for OFWs were unused since 2011.

The DFA attributed the unused funds to a clause in the Migrant Workers Act stipulating a “ceiling” to the amount of assistance that is allowed per OFW in distress. “We find this justification deplorable and extremely irrational. On top of OFWs on death row, there are at least 7,000 OFWs in jail in the Middle East alone, some of them awaiting death sentences. The common occurrence is they get arrested and undergo investigation and trial without any representation or legal counsel from the embassy. Because of this, they are deprived of due process and go straight to jail without any legal assistance or intervention from the Philippine government. This had been the case for all seven Filipinos who were executed abroad under Aquino’s term,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Should Mary Jane’s execution push through, she would be the eighth (8th) Filipino to have been executed on death row abroad under Aquino’s term, the biggest number under any presidential term in Philippine history.

The Aquino government’s appeal for clemency for Mary Jane in 2011 was a passive and perfunctory effort, with no further attempts of such after the moratorium against executions was lifted by then newly-elected Indonesian president Joko Widodo.

Pres. Benigno Aquino III only intervened more than a year after Veloso had already been sentenced to death, through a request for clemency with then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono who imposed a moratorium on executions during his term. This was later rejected by new President Joko Widodo who lifted the moratorium as soon as he took office. After which, there had been no active interventions on the part of Aquino to appeal for clemency for Mary Jane.

“When Pres. Joko Widodo made his first state visit here on February 9, 2015, surely they had a chance to talk about Mary Jane. Aquino had all the opportunity to state Mary Jane’s case, or even at least give Mary Jane’s family a chance to personally air their appeal. It should have been an opportunity to stress that diplomatic relations will be strained should Indonesia decide to push through with Mary Jane’s execution. But obviously nothing even close to that took place,” Martinez said.

For five years, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine government did not, even once, initiate contact with Veloso family, nor provide regular updates on the status of her case.

According to Mary Jane’s parents, Cesar and Celia, and her sister, Maritess, they learned of Mary Jane’s imprisonment not from the government but from a phone call from Mary Jane herself, and a few days later from her alleged recruiter, Kristina Sergio.

On May 13, 2015, Celia and Maritess went to Manila to seek the DFA’s help and received a promise from a DFA case officer that the agency will look into her case and provide assistance.

Since then, for more than two years, the family would travel tirelessly from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija to the DFA main office in Manila, or follow-up via phone. Apart from showing them a charge sheet and a “confidential report” on Mary Jane’s conviction, the DFA did not offer any updates on the developments of Mary Jane’s case. “They finally got exhausted when every time they called the assigned case officer on Mary Jane’s case was either ‘on leave, sick or out of the office.’”

After two years, the family finally gave up trying to get updates and decided to just save their transportation costs to send to Mary Jane instead. They were not given anything in writing, nor were they provided means to talk to or contact Mary Jane. “All efforts to contact Mary Jane were either at Mary Jane’s or the family’s expense,” Martinez said.

In fact, the Veloso family’s first visit to Mary Jane on June 3, 2013 was made possible through the efforts of her fellow inmates and jail guards who contributed money for their air fare, passport and expenses for their one-month stay in Jakarta.

The so-called confidential report, they said, they were allowed to only peek at just this year, when the DFA finally made the first move to contact them.

Martinez also noted that the Aquino government had not done anything to arrest, investigate or even just invite for questioning Mary Jane’s alleged recruiter and trafficker. “We cannot fathom why, up to this day, authorities have dilly-dallied in arresting and prosecuting Sergio despite Mary Jane’s own testimony and the family’s accounts.”

“Veloso is a victim. She should not be executed. She was not only a victim of drug trafficking syndicates but also of government neglect.” Martinez called on all families of Filipinos on death row to “come out now”. He said that other OFWs on death row, such as Dondon Lanuza, Marilou Ranario and Cecilia Alcaraz, were granted clemency after appeals to save their lives garnered enough national and international support.

“We call on all Filipinos around the world, on all OFWs and their families who have been neglected by this government and advocates to join us in the call to save Mary Jane’s life and demand accountability from the Aquino government,” he said. ###


We should not let the victim bite the dust – #SaveMaryJaneVeloso legal team

save mj tarp(1)Somewhere out there, a dazed and vulnerable young single mother sits alone and stays up in what seems like endless nights in a cold dingy cell far, far away from her little children and  waiting for what seems to be the inevitable. How could one erase the image of that forlorn look on Mary Jane Veloso’s face? 20 years after Flor Contemplacion.
Mary Jane is a victim not only of soulless creatures who took advantage of her desperation but ultimately of this government and our society that push our poor, young and hopeless to leave everything and risk anything in order to put food on the table and chase their simple dream of living like human beings. 20 years after Flor.
20 years after Flor,  Mary Jane is but  another dispensable commodity of a government who now fall all over itself to save her after apparently doing too little and too late again.  Serious and credible allegations that she was not only deceived and set up but also effectively denied basic due process to adequately defend herself mandate that she be given a fair chance to legally establish her innocence. After all, there is no further motion for reconsideration in the afterlife.
20 years after Flor,  seemingly hard and cold yet fallible laws in faraway lands are poised to ignore all humanitarian pleas storming the heavens with prayers to save the life of Mary Jane.
20 years before Mary Jane, we did not want to see Flor’s stoic face or hear her pained moan crying for mercy and justice as she was delivered to the gallows.
Against all odds, fast and furious steps in local  and international venues are again being explored and exhausted by a team of Filipino rights lawyers just recently retained by Mary Jane’s family to help stop her unjust execution in Indonesia. 20 years after Flor.  #
Edre U. Olalia
NUPL Secretary General
Note: Atty. Edre Olalia is the lead counsel of the recently-formed legal team for the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign. He was also part of the legal team for Flor Contemplacion, led by the late Atty. Romy Capulong, 20 years ago.  – Migrante International Media Desk

Arrest Mary Jane’s alleged trafficker now, gov’t told; Alleged trafficker back in Talavera, Nueva Ecija

Alleged recruiter and trafficker Maria Kristina P. Sergio (Photo from Veloso family)

Alleged recruiter and trafficker Maria Kristina P. Sergio (Photo from Veloso family)

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today urged the Philippine government to arrest, without further ado, Mary Jane Veloso’s alleged recruiter and trafficker Maria Kristina P. Sergio.

Sergio, according to Mary Jane and her family’s accounts, was responsible for recruiting Mary Jane to Malaysia before duping her into carrying a luggage filled with heroin to Indonesia.

Sergio is the live-in partner of Mary Jane’s god-brother (kinakapatid), Julius Nacanilao. Nacanilao’s father is Mary Jane’s ninong (godfather).

According to Mary Jane’s family, Sergio allegedly left her residence in Talavera, Nueva Ecija when news of Mary Jane’s case broke out in national and international media this March. Last night, Mary Jane’s mother Celia got news from Mary Jane’s mother-in-law, Tessie Candelaria, that Sergio has moved back to her house.

Hindi namin maintindihan kung bakit hindi mahuli-huli iyang si Tin-tin. Ilang beses nang inikutan ng mga PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) iyong kanilang bahay sa Talavera pero wala naming ginagawa,” Celia said.

Celia also said that Sergio admitted to them that she was responsible for Mary Jane’s imprisonment. “Noong mahuli si Mary Jane noong 2010, sinabihan kami niyang si Tin-tin na huwag daw kaming lalapit kahit kanino at huwag daw kaming magpapa-media dahil kung gagawin daw namin iyon ay mamamatay si Mary Jane at kami ring pamilya ay iisa-isahin. Malaking sindikato daw po sila, internasyunal daw po.”

“Sinabi rin po niya na napakarami na raw nilang napalusot, bakit daw po sa kinakapatid pa niya nahuli. Iyon din po ang sabi niya sa amin,” she added.

Mary Jane’s family also said that since they came out in the open, mysterious vans and unidentified persons 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,” Celia said.

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, said that the arrest of Sergio may be another leverage for the government’s appeal for clemency for Mary Jane. “Ito ang dapat unang-una nilang ginawa. They should have conducted their own investigation on allegations of trafficking. We cannot fathom why, up to this day, authorities have dilly-dallied in arresting and prosecuting Mary Jane’s alleged trafficker. We cannot fathom the torture for Mary Jane’s family, knowing that the person allegedly responsible for their loved one’s fate, and possibly responsible for threats they have been receiving, remains free and just a stone’s throw away. With their inaction, the government is giving us reason to believe that Sergio has strong connections inside the government. We call on the PDEA, NBI, PNP, DILG and the Aquino government to arrest Sergio now, without delay,” Martinez said.

Martinez also called on Mary Jane’s supporters in Talavera to stand guard to prevent Sergio from escaping again. “The government should also immediately and urgently issue a hold-departure order against Sergio.”

According to news reports from Jakarta, the Indonesian government has announced today that the executions will not push through this week. However, it also said that all preparations for the executions have been finished and they are just awaiting resolutions for all pending legal appeals from the Indonesian Supreme Court.

Tomorrow, April 9, Mary Jane’s family will join supporters in a prayer rally at Plaza Miranda at 4:00 in the afternoon. April 9 will also be the Global Day of Action for the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign. Migrante chapters in Hong Kong, Canada, Europe and Australia will troop to Indonesian embassies to appeal for clemency for Mary Jane.

On April 10, there will be a rally in Mendiola to condemn the Aquino government’s “too little, too late” action on Mary Jane’s case. ###