MANILA, Philippines - A meeting with a labor group in Indonesia may have prompted Indonesian president Joko Widodo to change his mind on executing Mary Jane Veloso.
In an interview with ANC, Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care Indonesia, said she met on Tuesday afternoon with Widodo who unexpectedly asked about Veloso's case.
Hidayah said she discussed the details of the case and appealed to the Indonesian president to spare the Filipina's life.
"We are also talking about the issue of Mary Jane. We talked to him that actually Mary Jane is the victim of human traffciking that also happened with many Indonesia migrant workers abroad also facing death penalty," she said.
Hidayah said they wanted to make sure Widodo was informed about the vulnerability of migrant workers, particularly from the Philippines and Indonesia, to drug smuggling rings.
She said she told Widodo that Veloso was a victim of the drug traffickers, and that her recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio had already surrendered to authorities.
"His first response was he was worried many people would testify that they are victims... But we made the illustration about the cases of Indonesian migrant workers in China, Malaysia and other countries, same with the case of Mary Jane," she said.
Hidayah said she was crying when she talked to Widodo about Veloso's case.
"I was crying when I illustrated the case of migrant workers, the case of Mary Jane, I said to him, 'if we kill the victims and tomorrow or next time we will find a new evidence, how can we be responsible for this, after the execution," she said.
The Indonesian government unexpectedly spared Veloso from execution at dawn on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Indonesia's Attorney General's Office said it had delayed the execution of Veloso, a housemaid and mother of two who was arrested in 2010 after she arrived in Yogyakarta with 2.6 kg of heroin hidden in her suitcase.
He said the delay was in response to a request from Manila after an employment recruiter, whom Veloso had accused of planting the drugs in her luggage, gave herself up to police in the Philippines on Tuesday. - With ANC and Reuters
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