Veloso family joins protest to show disappointment with Aquino gov’t
A family not used to joining protests took part in one during the Labor Day rally in Manila to show their disappointment with the Aquino administration.
Mary Jane Veloso’s family, after arriving from Indonesia on Friday morning, took to the streets over their dissatisfaction on President Benigno Aquino III’s handling of the case of the detained Filipina, whose execution was temporarily reprieved by the Indonesian government.
“The President did nothing,” Veloso’s teary eyed mother, Celia, told thousands of rallyists at Mendiola in Manila as she recalled the ordeal of her daughter.
She said the Aquino government had a lot to account for five years after her daughter was convicted of drug smuggling.
“Panahon na para maningil (It’s payback time),” she said, adding the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was also liable for the predicament of her daughter.
The older Veloso recalled the days she was asking help from the DFA and how a lawyer of the agency sealed her daughter’s fate.
She said the lawyer told her that with the gravity of Veloso’s offense, execution was imminent.
Seeing no chance that the government would attend to her daughter’s case, she appealed to human rights’ and workers’ groups to help her and her family.
During the rally, she was accompanied by her husband Cesar, their three children, Veloso’s ex-husband and her two sons, Darren and Darrel.
Maritess, Veloso’s sister who went to execution island in Indonesia and was supposed to wait for her sister’s remains, also echoed their family’s disappointment over the inaction of the Philippine government.
She said the charges her sister was facing went beyond drug smuggling.
“I believe if the government provided good jobs we would not consider leaving the country and go through what Mary Jane experienced,” Maritess, also a former overseas Filipino worker, said in Filipino.
She admitted it was the family’s first time to join a massive demonstration, adding it was a “small sacrifice” in order to repay the outpouring of love and support of the Filipinos for her sister.
“Nakita naman po natin na ang buong mundo ay nakiisa sa amin sa laban namin (para) kay Mary Jane Veloso kaya napakaliit na bagay para makiisa kami sa ipinaglalaban ngayong Mayo Uno para sa manggagawang Pilipino,” she said.
Veloso’s mother lamented the disregard of the Aquino family for them, citing her husband had worked for a long time at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, which was owned by the family of the President.
Her “payback time” remarks with regard to the Aquino administration, however, did not sit well with some netizens.
But Veloso’s sister, speaking on behalf of the family, says they will not retract their statement, adding the fight continues until her sister is free and back home in the Philippines. RC
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