Palace: Not yet time to ask for clemency for Mary Jane Veloso
Palace: Not yet time to ask for clemency for Mary Jane Veloso
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - September 13, 2016 - 1:45pm
MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:18 p.m.) – There is no need to seek executive clemency for convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso for now because her execution has been deferred indefinitely, Malacañang said Tuesday.
 
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella pointed out that Veloso’s execution had been deferred even before President Rodrigo Duterte met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week.
 
“There is no need to plea for clemency as there was no scheduled execution,” Abella said in a press briefing.
 
“If, and when, the Indonesian Supreme Court decides to act on the execution, that will be time to present (evidence proving) Veloso's innocence as a justification for a plea of clemency,” he added.

'Bad taste in the mouth'

Duterte said Tuesday afternoon that asking Widodo for clemency would have left a “bad taste in the mouth.”
 
“I said we will respect the judgments of your courts. Period. It would have been a bad taste in the mouth to be talking about having a strong posture against drugs and here you are begging for something,” the president said during the 48th anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing in Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
 
“(I said ) it’s good that you have death penalty here at least you can bring it down to the barest minimum. I said go ahead and implement the law --  I never. We never mentioned about Veloso,” he added.
 
Earlier Tuesday, Abella stressed that the contrary to reports by the Indonesian media, Duterte did not give Widodo the go-signal to proceed with Veloso’s execution.
 
Asked if he thinks Duterte’s statements were misinterpreted, Abella replied: “I’m not saying it was misinterpreted but that’s how they translated it to English.”
 
Abella previously said Duterte had told Widodo to follow their law and assured him that he would not interfere with Indonesia’s legal process.
 
On his Facebook account, and as reported by the Manila Bulletin, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he was at the meeting between Duterte and Widodo. He said that Duterte told the Indonesian president that "I respect your laws but we [are] appealing for your clemency."
 
Veloso was arrested at the Yogyakarta airport in 2010 after authorities found 2.6 kilos of heroin in her baggage. She denied being a drug mule and claimed that she did not know that the heroin was placed in her baggage.
 
She also claimed that a syndicate had tricked her to bringing the illegal drugs to Indonesia from Malaysia while she was trying to seek an overseas job as a maid.
 
Veloso was supposed to be executed by firing squad in April 2015 but was given a temporary reprieve after her recruiter turned herself over to Philippine police.

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