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'Miracles are real': Veloso spared from execution

Convicted Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso was set to be executed by firing squad at Indonesia but was spared at the last minute. File photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED from 2:01 a.m. version) - Convicted Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso was not among those executed by firing squad in Indonesia early Wednesday (Manila time).

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose faced members of media around 2:30 a.m. to confirm the reports.

"We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane Veloso was not carried out tonight," Jose said. "The Lord has answered our prayers."

The Jakarta Post and the Jakarta Globe reported past 1 a.m. that Veloso was given a last-minute reprieve even as she was scheduled to face death penalty along with eight other inmates after midnight.

Veloso's loved ones were elated upon news of what they deemed a "miracle."

"Totoo pong may himala na dumating sa buhay ng anak ko," Celia, Veloso's mother, said in an interview with dzMM.

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"Hindi ako makapaniwala. Ang alam nga po namin kanina wala na talaga," Celia added.

Tony Spontana, spokesperson of Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo, announced that Veloso's execution has been "postponed due to the request of President [Benigno Aquino III] in relation to an alleged human trafficker who recently gave herself up in the Philippines," The Post reported.

The announcement came hours after Prasetyo himself said all eight scheduled executions would "go ahead."

Among those executed were Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, three Nigerians, a Brazilian, a Ghanaian and an Indonesian.

In Manila, hundreds have been holding a vigil since Tuesday evening at the gates of the Indonesian Embassy to protest against Jakarta's stringent death penalty laws.

Veloso, 30, was sentenced to death by an Indonesian court in 2010 for drug trafficking.

The Filipino worker was consistent in claiming that she was innocent and that her recruiter framed her.

Alleged recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio voluntarily surrendered at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office on Tuesday morning, hours before the expiration of Indonesia's 72-hour execution notice. 

The National Bureau of Investigation earlier filed charges against Sergio and two other for drug trafficking and illegal recruitment.  - Patricia Lourdes Viray, AJ Bolando and Camille Diola

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