Celia Veloso, mother of convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, breaks down during a news conference Monday, April 7, 2015 outside the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, Philippines, on the planned execution of her daughter in Indonesia. AP/Bullit Marquez

Mary Jane Veloso's supporters picket in front of CA
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - January 25, 2018 - 2:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Supporters of human trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso on Thursday held a picket in front of the Court of Appeals to ask the court to allow her to tell her story from her cell in Indonesia.

Members of Migrante International, Church Task Force to Save Mary Jane, Churches Witnessing with Migrants and St. John Neumann Migrants Center gathered in front of the CA while the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court held a hearing on the illegal human trafficking case against Veloso's alleged recruiters Maria Christina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.

The group sent a letter addressed to the appellate court that read: "We urge you to let Mary Jane have her equal opportunity to testify before the judge as you afford Sergio and Lacanilao their constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Let the light of justice prevail by uncovering the truth about the circumstances which led to the continuing suffering of Mary Jane."

Attached to the letter is a petition signed by more than 2,000 people signifying support for Veloso to be allowed to "speak the truth."

Celia Veloso and Migrante Intl hold rally outside the Court of Appeals to request that the deposition of Mary Jane Veloso, who is on death row in Indonesia, be allowed.@PhilippineStar pic.twitter.com/4IF9497Tas

— evelynzmacairan (@EZMacairan) January 25, 2018

Arman Hernando, chairperson of Migrante, said: "Let us all be reminded that the basis for Mary Jane's reprieve in 2015 was to give way to legal proceedings here in the Philippines."

He said "Mary Jane remains a principal complainant in the trafficking case and therefore should be granted due process and allowed to speak the truth once and for all."

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

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 Sergio and Lacanilao.

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."

'Let us not abuse Indonesia's patience'

Hernando also stressed that Veloso's reprieve, granted by the Indonesian government, is just temporary. "Please, let us not abuse the Indonesian government's patience and tolerance. Every minute still counts," Hernando added.

The same point was raised by the Office of the Solicitor General in the motion for reconsideration it filed on the ruling. Solicitor General Jose Calida said the appellate court " deliberately disregarded" the limitations imposed by the Indonesian government and "are beyond the control of the Philippine authorities."

He added: "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."

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.

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.

Related video:

COURT OF APPEALS MARY JANE VELOSO
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