Gloom grips village of OFW on death row in Indonesia | Inquirer News

Gloom grips village of OFW on death row in Indonesia

/ 12:15 AM March 22, 2015

CABANATUAN CITY—Gloom has swept a small compound in Barangay Caudillo here where the family of a Filipina, who has been sentenced to death by an Indonesian court on drug smuggling charges, lives.

The parents, siblings and children of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso spend most of their days praying for a miracle.

Veloso was convicted of trying to smuggle 2.611 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia from Malaysia in April 2010.


Marites, Veloso’s elder sister, said the family prays for a favorable decision on her sister’s second appeal before the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 4.


“We pray and pray. We recite the Rosary every night and we go to church every Sunday. Even priests and friends join our prayers,” she said.

Veloso, who turned 30 on Jan. 10, was caught carrying heroin after she arrived at the Yogyakarta airport on an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. The heroin was found in her traveling bag. Her request for clemency was rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Veloso’s parents, Cesar, 59, and Cristina, 54, were out tending to their rolling store when the Inquirer visited their house on Tuesday.

Veloso has two children, who are under the care of her in-laws in a nearby town. She was born in Baliuag, Bulacan, but her parents moved from one odd job to another so they spent her childhood in La Paz, Tarlac; Angeles City and finally this city. She is fourth among five children.

She married at 16. But after two children, her marriage fell apart.

Veloso found work as a maid in Dubai from 2009 to 2010. She fled Dubai when an employer tried to rape her and she returned home.


She was convinced by a friend in a nearby town to work in Malaysia instead, Marites said. “Her friend helped her secure travel papers and a ticket so she could fly there as a tourist,” she said.

Veloso and her friend left on April 22, 2010, for Malaysia for a job as a domestic helper. Marites said her sister soon informed her that she was proceeding to Indonesia, also with the help of her friend, as the job in Malaysia was no longer available.

Veloso’s friend bought her many items, including a huge traveling bag, for her trip, Marites said.

“She was thankful that her friend bought her clothes and a traveling bag so she could be presentable as she tried to land a high-paying job in Indonesia.” The bag was delivered to Veloso by two men, Marites said.

She said Veloso’s friend helped her sister pack but the friend did not join her in the flight to Indonesia.

“It was only after 15 days when my sister told us that she was arrested at the airport when the X-ray machine detected a huge packet concealed in her bag, and that she was in jail,” Marites said.

Veloso’s friend, who, Marites said used three names, is nowhere to be found.

Marites said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was a big help.

“My sister was duped. If she truly was a courier for an international drug syndicate, she could have bailed out her parents and children from poverty by now,” she said.

Quoting Veloso’s most recent telephone call to her family in the Philippines, Marites said: “Let’s prepare ourselves for any eventuality. Let’s leave it to the will of God.”

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Marites said the public should not judge her sister too harshly. “The best thing that they can do is to join us in prayers for the deliverance of Mary Jane from execution,” she said.

TAGS: Death Row, Filipino, Indonesia, miracle, OFW, Philippines

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