Palace: No plea for Veloso unless execution is scheduled

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2016 12:49 PM

MANILA - There is no need to appeal for Mary Jane Veloso's life as there is no scheduled execution, palace officials clarified Tuesday after conflicting reports on President Rodrigo Duterte's supposed 'go ahead' for the Filipina's execution in Indonesia surfaced Monday.

"Veloso's execution has been indefinitely deferred. If the Indonesia Supreme Court decides to act on the incident, then that is the time we would make a plea for clemency," Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told palace reporters.

Abella said foreign media misinterpreted Duterte's pronouncement that he would "respect the judicial process of Indonesia, and accept whatever final decision they (court) will have."

"They were not talking about the execution, but about the judicial process. He was not giving a green light on the execution," Abella said.

Though blame was placed on the interpretation of foreign press, the presidential spokesperson was quick to clarify that the Palace is not blaming Indonesia President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's choice of words during his interview.

"We are not saying Jokowi misinterpreted him (Duterte). We are just giving you the context," Abella said.

The spokesman said there is no definite schedule on when Duterte would pay Veloso or her family a visit, but added that Duterte and Widodo agreed that Veloso will be allowed to testify through a deposition.

"If she can be proven innocent, that can be ground for a plea for clemency," Abella said adding that the Palace hopes that "no execution will be scheduled anytime soon as the judicial process is still on going."

On Monday, reports from Indonesia quoted Widodo as saying that 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