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Pinoy Abroad

PNoy seeks clemency anew for death convict Mary Jane Veloso

President Benigno Aquino III has sought clemency anew for Filipino Mary Jane Veloso, who was sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia.
At a press conferende on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the President’s letter was delivered last week to Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo.
It was the third letter delivered to the Indonesian government in a bid to save Veloso’s life.
“We are doing two approaches – the legal, which is judicial review and the diplomatic (wherein) the President has written the second time asking for clemency,” Jose told reporters.

Jose said Aquino sent a total of three letters to the Indonesian government.

The first letter of clemency was sent in 2011 to then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the second letter, which was sent to President Widodo, sought a judicial review for Veloso’s case.

Aquino’s third letter to Widodo is also Manila’s first clemency appeal under the new Indonesian government.
Veloso, a 30-year-old single mother, was among several foreign prisoners, including two Australians, who were sentenced to die this year in Indonesia by firing squad on drug-related charges. She was arrested at the Yogyakarta Airport on April 25, 2010.
In her testimony, Veloso claimed she was tricked by a close friend into bringing a suitcase loaded with 2.6 kilograms of heroin.
Indonesia said it is scheduled to proceed with the executions when the Asian-African summit or Bandung Conference in Indonesia concludes on April 24, but the Philippine government said it will file a second appeal before the said date.
Manila’s motion to re-open Veloso’s case was rejected late last month by Indonesia’s Supreme Court, but a second review is allowed under Indonesian laws.
President Widodo earlier said countries with nationals facing death sentence in Indonesia should respect Indonesian laws.  
The Philippine government maintained its actions on Veloso’s case are in accordance with Indonesian laws.
“Our initiatives like the request for judicial review, request for clemency - these are all in accordance with what is allowed under Indonesian judicial processes and we are not interfering with their judicial system,” Jose said. 
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is flying to Jakarta this week for the Bandung Conference as the country’s official representative, said he intends to seek a meeting with Widodo to appeal for Veloso’s life.
Jose said the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy have yet to finalize Binay’s schedule.
“The situation is very fluid. We are still finalizing the itinerary of the Vide President. We are trying to see what we could do given the time that he has,” Jose said. — RSJ, GMA News