For her 33rd birthday, Mary Jane Veloso said that she knows that Duterte is angry at drugs, but she pointed out how can the President—whose promise of ruthless eradication of drugs won him the highest seat of the land—carry out his promise when her situation remains as such. AP/Aaron Favila

Calida appeals Veloso's case: Allow her to tell her story
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - January 24, 2018 - 12:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals should take a "second hard look" in its latest ruling barring the local court of Nueva Ecija from allowing Mary Jane Veloso to tell her story, the Office of the Solicitor General said.

On January 23, the OSG filed a motion for reconsideration on the CA's ruling that issued a preliminary injunction on the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court's decision to allow Judge Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes to observe Veloso's deposition in Indonesia.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said that the appellate court "ignored the extraordinary circumstance in this case that exempts it from the strict application of Section 15, Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure."

Citing jurisprudence, the OSG said that the case falls under the exemption as Veloso, a prosecution witness, "does not have 'to leave the Philippines with no definite date of returning,' for she had already left the country and may not return to the Philippines."

READ: Veloso's lawyer on CA decision: Ironic, disappointing

"Respondent Judge merely gave life to the letters of the law, by recognizing the insufficiency of Section 15, Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure and applying Rule 23 of the Rules of Civil Procedure," Calida said.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

In an 18-page decision dated Dec. 13, 2017, the former 11th Division of the CA granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the lawyers of Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, Veloso's alleged recruiters.

The CA gave weight to Sergio and Lacanilao's argument that the allowing the judge to observe Veloso's deposition is "violative of their right to confront the witness or to meet them face to face."

READ: Veloso to 'father of the nation': Help your child who was duped by crooks

Conditions imposed by Indonesian government

The OSG also said that the CA "deliberately disregarded" the limitations imposed by the Indonesian government and "are beyond the control of the Philippine authorities."

"The Philippine Government must respect and accept the terms and conditions imposed by a co-equal and sovereign state in the conduct of investigation and prosecution of the illegal traffickers of Mary  Jane," Calida said.

One of the conditions set by the Indonesian government is that "the questions to be propounded to Mary Jane shall be in writing."

Veloso, a mother of two, claims that she was duped into carrying a suitcase lined with heroin into Indonesia. She was sentenced to death by the government of Indonesia.

Following an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III and surrender of her alleged recruiters in the Philippines, she was granted a last-minute reprieve before her scheduled execution on April 29, 2015.

"Accordingly, the dictates of justice in this case mandate that Mary Jane Veloso, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death, be allowed to tell her story while the constitutional rights of petitioner Sergio and Lacanilao are guaranteed to be protected by affording them an equal opportunity to submit written interrogatories to propound questions to their accuser, Mary Jane Veloso," Calida stressed.

Sergio and Lacanilao are currently facing human trafficking charges and are in police custody.

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.

JOSE CALIDA MARY JANE VELOSO
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