Bishop backs calls for Veloso to testify against recruiters

Bishop backs calls for Veloso to testify against recruiters

By Roy Lagarde

September 17, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A church official has backed calls for the Supreme Court to allow a Filipino death row prisoner in Indonesia to testify against her recruiters.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, who heads the church’s migrants’ ministry, said Mary Jane Veloso should be allowed to tell her story that she’s only a victim of human trafficking.

“We support and appeal that MJ be allowed to testify, to tell her story of how she was lured, deceived, and trafficked,” Santos said.

“Remember she was an unwilling victim and to know the whole truth, MJ should be given a chance to speak, and that also her right,” he stressed.

Veloso was convicted for drug smuggling and sentenced to death in 2010 but the execution did not push through after Indonesia imposed a moratorium on executions for five years.

She was set for execution again in 2015 but she got a last-minute reprieve to testify against her alleged recruiter who gave herself up to police in the Philippines.

Filipino migrant group Migrante International earlier asked the high court to allow Veloso to present her testimony through a written deposition.

It said that such testimony is “the only mode allowed by Indonesian authorities”.

In 2018, the parents of Veloso petitioned the SC to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals which barred their daughter from giving testimony in a deposition.

Bishop Santos added that all efforts should be made in the quest to find justice for Veloso.

“MJ suffered so much and still suffering. It is also high time that justice should be given to her, and recruiters are prosecuted for their wrongdoing and criminal acts,” he said. CBCPNEWS