UP boosts clamor to save Mary Jane Veloso
Students and workers at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City, as well as teachers’ groups, on Thursday launched “Task Force Mary Jane,” joining the public clamor to save the life of an overseas Filipino worker convicted of drug charges who is now on death row in Indonesia.
The coalition held a protest walk around the UP academic oval, tied white ribbons on trees and posted Mary Jane Veloso’s photos all over the campus.
The groups include the All UP Workers Alliance, Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, Alliance of Contractual Employees, Samahan ng Manininda ng UP, and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-National Capital Region.
With Migrante International, Veloso’s family and supporters also held a press conference at UP calling on authorities to invite for questioning Kristina Sergio who recruited the OFW for a job as a maid in Indonesia.
“[Sergio] remains in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. We’ve been wondering why she hasn’t been apprehended yet, when she’s clearly a person of interest. Her name appears in Mary Jane’s affidavit pointing to Sergio as the person who brought her to Malaysia, and later gave her a bag that she took with her to Indonesia,” said Migrante chair Gerry Martinez.
The luggage was found to contain 2.6 kilograms of heroin after going through routine arrival procedures in Yoyakarta airport on April 26, 2010.
Veloso’s family maintains that Sergio had duped her into being an unwitting drug mule.
Sergio, known to the Veloso family as Tintin, is Veloso’s godsister and neighbor in Talavera.
“What have authorities been doing about it? We challenge the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Philippine National Police to at least invite [Sergio for questioning],” Martinez said.
Cris Yambot of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which has been providing pro bono legal services to the Veloso family, said should Sergio be apprehended and face criminal complaints, it could prove to be a “gamechanger” for their client.
“We would be able to show and establish, to the judicial review in Indonesia, that Mary Jane is a victim. It could hopefully change the decision against her,” he added.
In a statement, NUPL secretary-general Edre Olalia asked government agencies “to immediately investigate [Veloso’s] godsister [Sergio] for drug and human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and other crimes.”
Veloso’s sister, Maritess Laurente, earlier told the Inquirer that Sergio even accompanied Veloso to Malaysia. But upon reaching the country, Sergio then claimed the job meant for Veloso was already taken but there was a vacancy in Indonesia.
In the next few days, Sergio took Veloso on shopping sprees, Laurente said, Veloso was sent off alone, with the bag, to the supposed job opening in Indonesia.
Migrante and Laurente will leave for Indonesia today to meet with Veloso’s lawyer and seek information related to the case “that the Department of Foreign Affairs had failed to provide.”
Yambot said the NUPL had also coordinated with Veloso’s Indonesian lawyer, as well as other international lawyers, in their efforts to stop or stay Veloso’s execution.
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