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Aquino fends off charges that gov’t did nothing to help Veloso

05:35 PM May 01, 2015
President Aquino answers questions from journalists while inside a van following the expansion project inauguration of cement manufacturer, Cemex Philippines in Naga City, Cebu. Photo by Nikko Dizon

President Aquino answers questions from journalists while inside a van following the expansion project inauguration of cement manufacturer, Cemex Philippines in Naga City, Cebu. Photo by Nikko Dizon

NAGA CITY, CEBU— President Aquino III had no special surprise for workers on Labor Day Friday but instead had to fend off charges by Mary Jane Veloso’s family that the government did nothing to help the Filipino worker.

The President also expressed hope that Veloso would ultimately be given clemency if her illegal recruiters and the drug syndicate that victimized her were put to jail.

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READ: Palace grateful to Indonesia for granting Veloso reprieve

“We might be able to capture them or other members of the syndicate. And if Mary Jane becomes very very helpful‎ in the process, well that might be a basis for extending some clemency,” Aquino said during an interview in Naga City, Cebu.

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He said the government will pursue the evidence acquired from the ongoing investigation, following the arrest of Veloso’s alleged recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio.

“We did what we could. We were not involved in the creation of the problem. You must remember she was arrested, if I am not mistaken, April of 2010,” President Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview following the inauguration of the expansion project of the cement manufacturer, Cemex Philippines.

Mr. Aquino did not want to comment on the allegations hurled by Veloso’s mother, Celia, who discredited the efforts done by the President and his men to find ways how to convince the Indonesian government that Veloso should live hours before her scheduled execution.

“I didn’t hear it from them… I don’t know if this comment was said, whether or not that comment is in reference to what happened then, at the start of what has transpired now. Unfortunately, I cannot comment intelligently on something that I was not a witness to. Perhaps I should look for a copy of that statement,” the President said.

Mr. Aquino emphasized that the Philippine government was bent on prosecuting those who have violated the law in Veloso’s case, referring to her alleged illegal recruiter and the supposed link to the drug syndicate.

READ: Veloso’s recruiter travels twice monthly

Veloso was set to be executed in Indonesia last Wednesday on drug trafficking charges but was given a temporary reprieve after Aquino spoke with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Sergio surrendered to the police.

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Aquino said authorities will try to follow the linkages and hopefully tag the foreigner who supposedly passed the drugs to Veloso when she was still in Malaysia.

“We might get hints,” he added.

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TAGS: clemency, Execution, Mary Jane Veloso, news, president Aquino iii, reprieve
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