Veloso to 'father of nation': Help your child duped by crooks
Veloso said that she knows Duterte hates drugs but said she did not knowingly become a drug courier.
AP/Aaron Favila
Veloso to 'father of nation': Help your child duped by crooks
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 10, 2018 - 2:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — On her 33rd birthday, convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso asked President Rodrigo Duterte, whom she called "father of the nation," to help her tell her story in court.

"Pangulong Duterte kayo po ang ama ng aming bansa at isa po sa inyong tungkulin na protektahan ang inyong mga anak sa kapahamakan na nagbabanta sa kanilang buhay, lalong lalo na po sa tulad naming mahihirap na nagiging biktima na masasamang tao na naghahangad ng kayamanan sa masamang paraan (President Duterte, you are the father of our nation and one of your duties is to protect your children from threats on their lives, especially those who are poor like me who become victims of evil people who want wealth through crooked means)," read Veloso's letter to Duterte.

A transcript of Veloso's audio appeal to Duterte was posted by News 5 Aksyon.

READ: Panawagan ni Mary Jane Veloso sa Pangulo sa kanyang ika-33 na kaarawan | via @ryanangnews5

— News5 AKSYON (@News5AKSYON) January 10, 2018

Veloso said she was granted a reprieve from execution in 2015  because her alleged recruiters Julius Lacanilao and Christina Sergio attested that she had been used to unwittingly carry drugs into Indonesia.

"Pero bakit po magtatatlong taon na ang nakakalipas nang ihinto ang bitay sakin, pero hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa rin nakakamtan ang katarungan (But why is it that I have been behind bars for three years and I still have not known justice)?" she added.

Veloso said that she knows that Duterte hates drugs, but she pointed out that her situation is unique.

Veloso was arrested in April 2010 at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with heroin sewn into the lining of her luggage. She has maintained her innocence and has claimed that she was duped by her recruiters into carrying the drugs.

She was convicted by the Indonesian court and sentenced to death. Following a personal plea from President Benigno Aquino III and the surrender of Lacanilao and Sergio, Veloso was given a last-minute reprieve in April 2015.

Veloso also pleaded with the appellate court to "further study" her case so she can "tell the truth and those who have done wrong may be punished."

Last December 13, the former 11th Division of the Court of Appeals ruled against a local court judge's decision to have her testify through deposition. The court said that allowing that violates the rights of the accused to confront the witness—a decision that was slammed by Veloso's lawyers as "disappointing and ironic."

Sergio and Lacanilao are represented by the Public Attorney's Office, while lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People's Lawyers represents Veloso. He is also a private prosecutor in the case against the alleged illegal recruiters.

Olalia said that Veloso's lawyers are "in coordination with the public prosecutors and indirectly with the [Office of the Solicitor General] so our plea for a reconsideration will be given a fair shake."

When Duterte and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo met in April 2017, the Malacañang said that Veloso's case was not discussed during the meeting.

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