Veloso will no longer have to be present to testify against the persons who caused her ordeal and will, instead, give her side of the story from her detention cell in Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
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Lawyers welcome SC ruling on Veloso testimony
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has high hopes that truth will come out in the case of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso after the Supreme Court (SC) allowed the overseas Filipino worker to testify by deposition against her recruiters in a case that remains pending at the regional trial courts of Nueva Ecija.

Veloso will no longer have to be present to testify against the persons who caused her ordeal and will, instead, give her side of the story from her detention cell in Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

She was arrested at the Yogyakarta airport in April 2010 for carrying a suitcase given by her recruiters which contained 2.6 kilos of heroin.

Five years later, she was convicted for smuggling illegal drugs and sentenced to death by firing squad.

The execution was stayed after one of her alleged recruiters surrendered to the police.

In a statement, the NUPL said they are elated by the SC decision, noting its timeliness as the Nueva Ecija trial court – which is hearing the human trafficking, illegal recruitment and swindling cases filed against alleged recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanillo – extended a Sept. 26 deadline for the taking of deposition to Oct. 28.

Veloso would serve as the prosecution’s last witness.

“With this ruling, we are hopeful that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will come out and will decisively and ultimately impel Indonesia to make her reprieve permanent or free her by any legal or political means,” the NUPL said. 

The group also hopes that the persons behind Veloso’s ordeal will be held liable. ?

“While her journey back home is still looming on the horizon as the judicial proceedings will have to shift course, this big legal victory is again a triumph of concerted efforts from her family, private and government lawyers, migrant, religious and lawyers groups and supporters worldwide,” it added. 

The Court of Appeals has twice blocked the taking of deposition as it cited the right of the accused to confront Veloso face-to-face.

But the SC ruled that Veloso’s right to due process will be curtailed if the deposition is not allowed.

Veloso has repeatedly claimed that she was duped by her recruiters.

MARY JANE VELOSO
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