Lawyers seek SC approval of Veloso deposition
CABANATUAN CITY—The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) is going to the Supreme Court to appeal the Court of Appeals’ (CA) order stopping prosecutors from obtaining the deposition of drug trafficking convict Mary Jane Veloso from her jail cell in Indonesia.
The CA 11th Division on May 22 directed Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court in Sto. Domingo town in Nueva Ecija province to desist “from conducting further proceedings for the taking of Mary Jane’s deposition,” according to lawyer Edre Olalia, NUPL president.
The CA order heeded the petition filed by Veloso’s alleged recruiters, Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, who are standing trial for human trafficking and estafa.
Veloso was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia but her execution was suspended to allow her to testify in the trial of Sergio and Lacanilao.
In its six-page decision, the appeals court ruled that allowing Veloso’s deposition to be taken from another country might violate the right of Sergio and Lacanilao to due process.
“Unless restrained or enjoined, the taking of Mary Jane’s deposition upon written interrogatories during the pendency of this case will cause grave and irreparable injury to the petitioners as it will adversely affect their right to have the merits of their petition passed upon by this court and to have the assailed resolution set aside, if warranted by the facts and law,” the CA said.
But Olalia said: “The recruiters assert that they want to confront her in person yet they themselves oppose and put all roadblocks every step of the way to make it happen.”
He said Veloso’s situation was unique and required “judicial equity, if not flexibility, as well as common sense and basic empathy.”
“Whatever happens to distressed overseas workers like [Veloso] in the meantime may in large measure be attributable to a fixation for legal gobbledygook, an abstraction of lofty legal principles and procedure that is open to serious impression that they are bereft of reality, compassion and a sincere search for justice in a case where time is of the essence,” he said.
Veloso was arrested in an airport in Indonesia in April 2010 for bringing in 2.6 kilograms of heroin in a suitcase. She was convicted in October 2010.
Veloso maintained that she was misled into taking the suitcase to Indonesia.
Her execution, scheduled on April 29, 2015, was postponed indefinitely by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the request of then President Benigno Aquino III. —ARMAND GALANG
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