Penalize recruiter, Veloso kin urge
CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines—Relatives and supporters of death convict Mary Jane Veloso want the government to go after the woman who took her to Malaysia to work as maid there.
But Maria Cristina Sergio, 43, left the house of her live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao, in Barangay (village) Esguerra District here on Thursday amid reports that tagged her as the recruiter of Veloso and the one who allegedly facilitated her subsequent entry to Indonesia.
Veloso was caught at Yogyakarta airport in 2010 carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin hidden in her traveling bag. She was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death.
On Saturday, she received a notice of her execution by firing squad on Tuesday, April 28.
“She (Sergio) left her home and nobody knows where she is now,” Darlene Veloso-Cando, Veloso’s older sister, said on Saturday. “She should be executed, not my sister.”
Sergio was not charged with any crime. Indonesian law enforcers who investigated her could not find sufficient evidence to pin her down as Veloso’s actual recruiter.
On April 8, the Inquirer interviewed Sergio, who said her role was to help Veloso enter Malaysia as a tourist and help her find a job there.
Sergio said she frequented Malaysia because of her job as a realty company consultant.
“I am not a recruiter. The [Veloso] family went to my house to ask for my help,” she said.
She said she spent more than P65,000 for the processing of Veloso’s documents, including her passport, and helped her find a place to stay in Malaysia.
Sergio said Veloso promised to pay her back once she was settled.
Various accounts of Veloso’s ordeal said that she could not land a job in Malaysia but was offered an Indonesian employment instead.
Sergio denied television news reports that blamed her for Veloso’s predicament, angering Veloso’s family.
“She is so thick-skinned. She cried when she claimed she was innocent and had nothing to do with my sister’s arrest. My sister is the real victim here,” Cando said.–Armand Galang
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