In an eight-page resolution promulgated on June 5, the former 11th Division of the appellate court affirmed its decision in December last year, which voided an earlier ruling of a Nueva Ecija court that allowed the taking of Veloso’s affidavit.
Joven Cagande
CA junks Mary Jane Veloso appeal to testify vs recruiters
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed with finality the appeal of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso to testify in the criminal cases against her recruiters from her detention cell in Indonesia.

In an eight-page resolution promulgated on June 5, the former 11th Division of the appellate court affirmed its decision in December last year, which voided an earlier ruling of a Nueva Ecija court that allowed the taking of Veloso’s affidavit.

The CA denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General last January and stood firm in its decision that granted the petition filed by Veloso’s detained recruiters, couple Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, who are on trial for human trafficking.

The appellate court reiterated its ruling that Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the deposition of Veloso in Indonesia for lack of jurisdiction.

The CA ruling, penned by Associate Justice Ramon Bato Jr., held that the deposition would violate the constitutional right of the defendants to face their accuser.

Associate Justices Manuel Barrios and Renato Francisco concurred with the ruling.

The appellate court clarified that the government could pursue other channels to get Veloso’s testimony and meet the requirements of Philippine laws.

“The Philippine government can request, with the consent of Indonesia, to temporarily transfer the custody of Mary Jane Veloso to the Philippines to allow her to testify in the Philippine court with the express undertaking to return immediately to Indonesia after the termination of her testimony,” the CA suggested.

Government prosecutors wanted to take Veloso’s testimony to bolster the cases against her recruiters and save her from death row in Indonesia, where she was convicted of drug trafficking.

In its ruling in August 2016, the Nueva Ecija court allowed the taking of Veloso’s deposition from the Indonesian jail by the Philippine consulate in the presence of the judge.

The recruiters argued that the deposition would violate Section 14 (2), Article III of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, which required that they confront Veloso face-to-face.

COURT OF APPEALS MARY JANE VELOSO OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
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