Court allows Veloso deposition
STO. DOMINGO, NUEVA ECIJA—A regional trial court judge here has allowed government lawyers to go to Indonesia and take the deposition of convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso, after dismissing the objections raised by Veloso’s alleged recruiters, Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.
Veloso had been sentenced to death but the Indonesian government had suspended her execution to allow her to participate in the trial of Sergio and Lacanilao on a charge of human trafficking.
Deposition in Indonesia
An Aug. 15 resolution issued by Judge Anerica Castillo-Reyes allowed the prosecution to take the testimony of Veloso in Indonesia. But the Public Attorney’s Office, which is representing Sergio and Lacanilao, filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that securing a deposition would be prejudicial to its clients.
In a Nov. 3 order, Reyes said she found no compelling reason to reverse the resolution allowing the deposition. She did not say when the lawyers may fly to Indonesia.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, which is representing Veloso, said the new ruling would allow his client to “finally be given the opportunity to testify and tell her story.”
The court noted that deposition is applicable in criminal cases.
It said Veloso, who is on death row abroad, cannot appear in the local court to give her testimony, justifying the taking of her deposition.
Cortez said the prosecution is entitled to due process by allowing its “material witness” to testify.
Reyes released her order on Thursday, after Veloso’s estranged husband, Michael Candelaria, took the witness stand at the continuation of the trial.
Candelaria narrated how Veloso was convinced by Sergio and Lacanilao to work as a maid in Malaysia. He said Sergio and Lacanilao asked Veloso to give them P20,000 to buy the plane tickets.
On April 22, 2010, Candelaria said, he took Veloso, Sergio and Lacanilao to the bus station in Talavera town for a bus ride to Manila where they would take a flight to Malaysia.
Three days later, Veloso landed in an Indonesia airport from Kuala Lumpur and was caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin. Veloso was tried and convicted by an Indonesian court in October 2010. —ARMAND GALANG
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