De Lima saddened by Duterte’s ‘go signal’ to execute Veloso
“NAKAKALUNGKOT. Nakakaiyak. Nakakahindik.”
This was how Senator Leila de Lima described on Monday night President Rodrigo Duterte’s reported go signal to the Indonesian government to proceed with the execution of convicted Filipino drug mule, Mary Jane Veloso.
De Lima lamented how Duterte’s personal beliefs have now become the government’s foreign policy as far as Veloso’s life is concerned.
“I read the article from the online edition of Jakarta Post. (Indonesian) President (Joko) Widodo apparently said that our President has given the go ahead to proceed with the execution. This means he will no longer intercede, and that saving Veloso’s life is no longer the policy of the President,” she said in a statement.
De Lima noted that saving Veloso’s life had been important during the Aquino administration, especially the Department of Justice, which she said provided the Indonesian government the legal basis to hold the execution in abeyance using the mutual cooperation treaty between the Philippines and Indonesia on the prosecution of crimes.
The senator was the Justice Secretary under the Aquino administration until she was elected senator last May.
“We provided Indonesia legal basis to hold off the execution by catching her recruiters and telling Indonesia we need her to prosecute them,” she said.
“Now it appears all our efforts have come to nothing, because the President is a firm believer in the death penalty and the punishment of those convicted of drug trafficking, and these personal beliefs are now our government’s foreign policy insofar as the fate of Veloso is concerned.”
De Lima said she was “sad and heartbroken” that Duterte would just throw away their efforts to save a life “when it is still in his power to request for the holding off of the execution. ”
“But then again, magtataka pa ba tayo, e sa mismong bansa natin araw-araw mahigit kwarenta katao na ang napapatay ng walang paglilitis,” she said.
“So ano pa ang kwenta nga naman talaga ng buhay ng isa pang Mary Jane Veloso. Mapa-judicial o extra-judicial execution, yan na ang polisiya ng gobyerno,” the senator added.
De Lima, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has initiated a Senate probe into the alleged extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the country since Duterte assumed office.
Malacanang has already clarified the issue, saying Duterte had only told Widodo to “follow your own rules” and that he would not interfere.
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