Son of OFW on death row: Free her
The six-year-old son of Mary Jane Veloso—the overseas Filipino worker who is on death row for drug trafficking charges in Indonesia—offered a song of hope for his mother on Saturday.
“Ang kailangan mo’y tibay ng loob kung mayroong pagsubok man. Ang liwanag ay di magtatagal at muling mamamasdan (You need to be strong in the face of trial. You will not have long to wait before you see the light again),” Mark Darren sang in a press briefing held by youth groups on the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
Veloso burst into tears when Mark Darren and her older son, Mark Daniel, 12, sang the song when they visited her in Indonesia in February, her mother Celia told the Inquirer.
“Palayain si Mama (Free my mom)! Save my future!” read the handwritten placard held by Veloso’s sons during the press briefing held by members of Migrante Youth, League of Filipino Students (LFS), National Union of Students of the Philippines and College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
The militant youth groups emphasized that more Filipinos seeking a brighter future for their family were vulnerable to international syndicates because of the government’s labor export policy.
Charisse Bañez of the LFS said the labor export policy was reinforced in the K-to-12 educational system which “prepares students to join the ocean of the unemployed and provide a steady supply of cheap labor for foreign businesses.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs is set to file a second appeal for the judicial review of Veloso’s case after Indonesian authorities announced that her execution could take place anytime after April 24.
Veloso was arrested on April 26, 2010 after she was caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin on her arrival at Yogyakarta airport.
According to her parents, she was recruited by her neighbor and godsister Maria Kristina “Tintin” Sergio who accompanied her for a job as a maid in Malaysia. When they got there, Sergio told Veloso that someone else had already been hired and that they would go to Indonesia to look for another job.
Sergio also reportedly provided the suitcase which contained the heroin that Veloso took with her to Indonesia.
“Tintin lied to us. She said Mary Jane was okay, her boss was nice and even bought milk for her baby. Then we learned that Mary Jane landed in jail. When we confronted Tintin, she told us to keep quiet because it’s an international drug syndicate and they can set Mary Jane free or they can retaliate against us,” Veloso’s father Cesar said.
Mark Darren was only about three months old when his mother was arrested. He recognized her from photographs and met her for the first time when they visited her in February in Indonesia, Celia said.
“He knows his mother is in jail. But he doesn’t know that she is set to be executed. When he asks us what ‘bitay’ means, we evade the question. We explain that it will take a long time for her to return but a lot of people are helping us so she can come back home. He gets really happy when he hears that,” Celia said.
Mark Daniel, who understands the situation, was more affected, she added.
“He has failing grades. At school, he’s distracted and stares into space,” Celia said.
Veloso’s parents have appealed for help from President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Indonesian President Joko Widodo and are also seeking government action against the recruiter. “We are still hoping that they could help us,” Celia said.
However, investigating the recruiter and filing charges against her may no longer result in the reopening of the case in Indonesia, the Department of Justice said.
“The case of Mary Jane Veloso has already gone past the stage of court trial. Our appeal to the Indonesian Supreme Court has been denied and a second appeal is what we are readying now,” Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III said, adding that they were hoping that the second appeal would be heard by the Indonesian government. Niña P. Calleja
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