SC ends years-long debate: Mary Jane Veloso can tell her story
In 2018, Mary Jane's parents, Celia and Cesar Veloso, through the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, asked the SC on Monday to reverse and set aside the Court of Appeals ruling that blocked the appeal to allow a local judge to observe the deposition of their daughter's testimony.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file
SC ends years-long debate: Mary Jane Veloso can tell her story
Kristine Joy Patag ( - August 14, 2020 - 5:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The long years of Mary Jane Veloso, her family and lawyers’ fight to be able to tell her story in a Philippine court has reached an end. A division of the Supreme Court ruled with finality to allow a local judge to observe the taking of her testimony.

In a five-page notice of resolution dated March 4 but made public only on Friday, the Special Third Division of the SC rejected the motion of reconsideration filed by the Public Attorney’s Office, legal counsels of Veloso’s detained recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.

PAO sought to reverse the SC’s October 2019 decision where the court division reversed and set aside the Court of Appeals ruling that blocked the appeal to allow a local judge to observe the deposition of Veloso’s testimony.

A deposition is a witness' testimony taken outside court.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, private prosecutors of the case against the Veloso’s recruiters, explained that “this means that the Nueva Ecija trial court hearing the qualified human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa against her illegal recruiters [Sergio and Lacalinao] can now schedule the dates for the taking of Mary Jane’s testimony.”

The court notice, written by Division Clerk of Court Misael Domingo Battung III, further read: “The Court further resolves to deny the motion with finality, the basic issues raised therein having been duly considered and passed upon by the Court in the aforesaid decision.”

It added that PAO failed to raise substantial argument that would warrant a reconsideration of the previous ruling.

No oral arguments; entry of judgment follows

The court division also rejected PAO’s appeal to refer the case to the SC as a full court and set the case for oral arguments as it noted that “the Court En Banc is not appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of a Division may be appealed.”

“No further pleadings, motions, letters or other communications shall be entertained in this case/ Let an entry of judgment be issued immediately,” it added.

The NUPL welcomed the court ruling saying this “removed the final legal stumbling block” for the taking of Mary Jane’s deposition.

“In time, not only will the illegal recruiters be held to account but her innocence will eventually be judicially established and we look forward to her coming home free as a logical consequence,” NUPL added.

“Let Mary Jane speak out now and bring her home in time. It is a long and tortuous journey but we will get there,” they added.

Veloso, a mother of two, said that she was duped into carrying a suitcase lined with heroin into Indonesia. She was sentenced to death by the government of Indonesia for drug offenses in 2010.

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

Critics of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed call for the re-imposition of the death penalty in the Philippines warned that this may put the government’s negotiation for Filipinos on death row, such as Veloso, at risk.

RELATED: Veloso to 'father of nation': Help your child duped by crooks

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