MANILA – While pleading for the life of her daughter, the mother of death row convict Mary Jane Veloso is in favor of restoring the death penalty in the Philippines.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Veloso's mother Celia expressed agreement with proposals to revive the death penalty bill for drug-related and other heinous crimes, a priority measure of the Duterte administration.
“Oo, sang-ayon ako, kasi tama naman ang ginagawa niya eh. Napakaraming taong napapariwara ng dahil sa ganoon,” Veloso told ABS-CBN News when asked whether she favors the reimposition.
“Siguro kung sa tingin ng iba eh mali, para sa akin okay lang, dahil marami kasing walang hiyang tao talaga," said Veloso, who was in Malacañang Wednesday to appeal for the President's help in her daughter's case.
Veloso said this even as she pleaded for the Philippine and Indonesian governments to save her daughter, who was sentenced to death in October 2010 after being caught with 2.6 kilograms of heroin at an Indonesian airport.
While she supports the reimposition of death penalty, Veloso said the justice system in the Philippines must first be fixed to ensure that no innocent people would be penalized with death.
”Talagang sang-ayon ako, kung totoong kasalanan nila ah. Pero kung hindi naman, alamin muna nila bago nila galawin,” Veloso said.
“Tulad ng kay (Indonesian President Joko) Widodo, kay Mary Jane, bago nila bitayin si Mary Jane, alamin nila ang buong katotohanan kung siya ay may kasalanan o wala," said Veloso, in reference to the earlier stay on her daughter's execution.
She said she would accept her daughter’s execution if she proven to have committed wrongdoing.
“Panginoon na ang nakakaalam nyan kasi apat na beses na si Mary Jane nahatulan ng kamatayan, pero sa awa ng Diyos hanggang ngayon buhay siya,” she said.
Veloso went to Malacañang Wednesday to press the government to hasten its efforts to end her daughter's hardships. She and relatives of other OFWs on death row were accommodated by Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns Abdullah Mamao.
The meeting came as President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesia President Joko Widodo are set to meet this week, when the latter undertakes a state visit to the Philippines and attends the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Indonesia stopped Mary Jane Veloso's execution in 2015 after the Philippine government said her testimony would be vital in the case against her alleged illegal recruiters, Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
But in a resolution on March 24, the Court of Appeals, granted the petition of her recruiters, who argued that securing Veloso's written deposition would be prejudicial to their rights to confront witnesses face to face.
During their meeting, Mamao promised to update the Indonesian government on the latest development in the OFW’s case, Veloso said.
“Medyo nabago ang pakiramadam ko kasi parang nawawalan na ako ng pag-asa 'eh. Nung nakausap ko sila at maganda ang pagkakasabi nila na susulatan nila ang embassy ng Indonesia at darating si President Widodo na bibigyan nila ng sulat,” she told reporters in a separate interview.
Veloso also appealed to Duterte to take a hard look at the case of her daughter even while he is angry at drug convicts.
“Magmamakakawa po talaga ako sa kanya. Alam ko po na galit siya sa droga. Ako rin po galit sa droga, pero iba po ang kaso ni Mary Jane,” she said.
“Si Mary Jane ay biktima lang po. Ipaglaban naman niya, alamin nila ang buong katotohanan. Kung talagang mapatunayan nila na si Mary Jane ang may kasalanan matatanggap ko ho na mabitay ang anak ko. Pero masakit na mamatayan ka ng anak na alam mong walang kasalanan," she said.