Palace: Duterte didn't give 'go-ahead' for Veloso's execution


Posted at Sep 12 2016 04:15 PM | Updated as of Sep 12 2016 07:09 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) Malacanang denied on Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte gave his "go-ahead" for the execution of drug convict Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia. 

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said what Duterte told Indonesian President Joko Widodo was that he would not interfere in Indonesia's legal processes. 

He said what Duterte told Widodo was "to follow your own laws" and that "I will not interfere."

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. meanwhile described as "erroneous" a headline in Jakarta Post, which claimed “Duterte has given green light for Mary Jane’s execution.”

Yasay maintained Veloso's execution has been "indefinitely deferred."

Yasay said Duterte told Widodo that he respected "their judicial processes and will accept whatever the final decision they will arrive at regarding her case."

The Jakarta Post, citing the state-owned Antara News, quoted Widodo as having said: "President Duterte has given the go-ahead to proceed with the execution." 

ABC Indonesia's Adam Harvey also posted a sound recording of Widodo's statement.

Lika Aprilia, an Indonesian journalist, translated Widodo's statement as: "I told him that Mary Jane carried 2.6 kg heroin, and I told him about her death penalty that was postponed, and he told me, 'if you want to execute her, then go ahead.'"

Indonesia’s Cabinet secretariat, likewise, quoted Widodo as saying that Duterte had given Indonesia the go-ahead to proceed with the execution.

Duterte visited Indonesia last Friday to meet with Widodo. Prior to his meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Duterte said he was ready to accept Veloso’s fate.

When he returned, Duterte declined to discuss the case involving Veloso, a Filipina convicted and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia.

READ: Duterte mum on Mary Jane Veloso case

"I had a talk, this one of the topics of this conversation, everybody was excluded and a lot to cover, security arrangements including the Filipinos who are in jail and facing charges in Indonesia," Duterte said in a press conference at the Davao International Airport after his arrival from his Indonesia visit.

"There are matters that I cannot tell you now, I'm sorry, I'm not a liberty but maybe, I can talk to the family first," he added.

Veloso was due to be executed last year by firing squad but she was given a last-minute reprieve by Widodo.

READ: Why Mary Jane Veloso got last-minute reprieve

The reprieve was given after Manila told Jakarta that it had in its custody Veloso's recruiter who allegedly planted the illegal drugs in the Filipina's luggage.

Veloso maintains she is innocent and was only tricked by her alleged recruiter into smuggling heroin, and that she was a victim of human trafficking.