Hope not lost on Mary Jane Veloso case — DFA

By Michaela del Callar

MANILA, April 27 (PNA) — Saying hope is not lost on the case of Filipino death convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Philippine government on Monday said it will continue to exhaust all available legal and diplomatic remedies to save her from execution.

The Indonesian government on Saturday afternoon formally notified Veloso and the Philippine Embassy in Indonesia of her impending execution, which reports say will be carried out Wednesday, but Filipino officials rejected it as the case is still on appeal.

“When they served the notice we did not sign it because we said we have an appeal so they should take that into consideration,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose, adding the government is actively pursuing both legal and diplomatic tracks to save Veloso’s life.

Veloso, 30, was apprehended in April 2010 after 2.6 kilograms of heroin were found stashed insider her luggage. She maintained her innocence, saying she was duped into bringing the suitcase to Indonesia. Smuggling of huge quantities of drugs to Indonesia is punishable by death through firing squad.

“There is still hope,” Jose said. “We have not given up hope on this appeal once it is taken up by the district court because we are presenting a new argument this time that she is a victim, complete with report of our drug enforcement agency and the fact that we have filed charges against the recruiter.”

At the same time, President Aquino is scheduled to have a crucial follow-up meeting with Widodo later today at sidelines of an ongoing Southeast Asian summit in Malaysia to discuss Veloso’s case.

The Philippine government, Jose said, is hoping the court will respond to the appeal “before it could be taken over by events.”

“We are determining what is our status if our appeal and that is being followed up,” he said. “We expect a response from the court if they will be entertaining it or rejecting it.”

Veloso’s family members flew to Indonesia since last week and have been given access to her at a detention facility in Nusa Kambangan, an island where death row prisoners are taken for execution. (PNA)