Duterte mum on Mary Jane Veloso case


Posted at Sep 10 2016 03:03 AM | Updated as of Sep 10 2016 03:48 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday declined to discuss the case involving Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina convicted and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia.

"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 at a liberty but maybe, I can talk to the family first," he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay earlier said the Philippine government did not formally raise the issue of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso during Duterte's visit to Indonesia on Friday.

Yasay told reporters that Veloso, who secured a last-minute reprieve on death row, "is not an issue right now."

"Hindi natin na-bring up iyan dahil hindi naman issue ngayon yan eh. Let's finish the process," Yasay said. (We didn't bring it up because it's not an issue right now).

"Ang pagkakaintindi ko, ang mangyayari diyan ay wala namang scheduled, dinefer muna execution because (she) will be testifying," he added. (What I understand is...there is nothing scheduled. Her execution was deferred because she will be testifying.)

Pamilya ni Mary Jane Veloso, humingi ng tulong kay Duterte

PNoy broke protocol to make final appeal for Mary Jane

The Indonesian attorney general's spokesman earlier said Veloso's execution was postponed after one of her recruiters, Maria Kristina Sergio, surrendered to the Philippine police.

"The execution of Mary Jane (Veloso) has been postponed because there was a request from the Philippine president related to a perpetrator suspected of human trafficking who surrendered herself in the Philippines," said Tony Spontana, spokesman for the attorney general.

Yasay said if the case involving the illegal recruiters shows that Veloso is indeed just a victim, then that it would be the time when the Philippine government can ask for clemency for her. "We hope that will probably come about within a year or so."

He said Veloso's case "is not urgent."

"There's no schedule. It has been postponed indefinitely for Mary Jane. She has been off the execution schedule, and we will be informed if that happens and I don't think it will happen because the agreement is she will be allowed first to testify. They're just getting her interrogatories or depositions, and so on," Yasay said.

Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lumen Isleta earlier the case of Veloso was in the top agenda in the scheduled meeting between Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. - with reports from Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News