"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Duterte says did not give "go-ahead" to Indonesia's Jokowi to execute drug convict

President Duterte, left, and President Widodo, right.
President Duterte, left, and President Widodo, right.
President Rodrigo Duterte did not give the go signal for the execution of Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Veloso, as reported by the Indonesian media

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte only told Indonesian President Joko Widodo to "follow your own laws" and that "I will not interfere."

"Regarding the supposed statements coming from Indonesia, the President just informed us that his actual statement and conversation with President Widodo went like this, he said regarding Mary Jane Veloso, he said 'follow your own laws, I will not interfere,'" Abella said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay also denied reports that President Duterte had given the go-signal for the execution.

In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Yasay said Duterte only told Indonesian President Joko Widodo that "he respects their judicial processes and will accept whatever the final decision they will arrive at regarding her case." 

Citing a report by Antara news agency in Serang, Banten, the Jakarta Post on Monday reported that Duterte had given Widodo the "go-ahead" to proceed with Veloso's execution. 

Veloso, who remains on death row for drug smuggling, was temporarily spared the firing squad in April last year. After his attendance in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos last week, Duterte flew to Jakarta for a working visit to meet with Widodo and raise Veloso's case. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay then claimed that Veloso's execution was deferred because it was not an "urgent issue."

Source: news.asiaone.com, September 12, 2016

Duterte denies support for Indonesia execution

Mary Jane Veloso in April 2016
Mary Jane Veloso in April 2016
The Philippines has denied president Rodrigo Duterte has given his blessing to the execution of a Filipino on death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

A Philippines cabinet minister has denied claims President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go-ahead for Indonesia to execute a Filipino woman who is on death row for drug trafficking.

The clarification came after Indonesia President Joko Widodo said Duterte had told him to proceed with the execution of Mary Jane Veloso.

Veloso was given an 11th-hour reprieve when she was due to be executed in April 2015 alongside Australian Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran after Philippine authorities requested her testimony in an ongoing legal case in her home country.

But Emmanuel Pinol, Philippines' agriculture secretary, said there was an understanding the execution had been postponed indefinitely.

"The president never agreed to execute Mary Jane," Pinol said.

"What he said was that we respect your law, we will not interfere with your judicial process but we will ask for clemency."

In a statement posted on the Indonesian cabinet secretary's website, Widodo said he had discussed the suspended execution with Duterte during his visit to Indonesia last week.

"President Duterte said at the time to go ahead with the execution," Widodo said after conducting Eid prayers in Serang, Banten province.

He said he told Duterte that Veloso had been caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin when she was arrested at Yogyakarta's airport in April 2010, before being sentenced to death in October the same year.

When he arrived from his visit from Indonesia, Duterte did not give details on the discussion about Veloso's case, saying what was talked about was not for public consumption.

Both Widodo and Duterte are currently waging a war on drugs in their respective countries.

Under Widodo, who took office in 2014, Indonesia has executed 18 people convicted for drug trafficking.

In the Philippines, 1,011 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed in police operations between July 1 and September 4, according to police statistics.

Police also recorded 1,391 deaths during the same period which are still being investigated.

Source: AAP, September 12, 2016

Indonesia says Duterte has given it permission to execute Mary Jane Veloso

Death-row isolation cells on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia
Death-row isolation cells on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia
Jakarta claims President Rodrigo Duterte sanctioned execution of Filipina, who supporters say was duped into smuggling heroin

Indonesia has said the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has given his blessing for the execution of a Filipino death row inmate, Mary Jane Veloso.

“President Duterte … said: ‘Please go ahead if you want to execute her,’” the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, said on Monday.

The report left many in the Philippines in shock, as saving Veloso – a domestic worker on death row who many believe was duped into smuggling heroin – has become a national cause.

Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for Duterte, strongly denied that the president had given the go-ahead during a meeting in Jakarta on Friday. “There was no endorsement,” Abella said. “He simply said: ‘Follow your own laws, I will not interfere.’”

Veloso was arrested in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2010 while carrying a suitcase containing 2.2kg of heroin. Her supporters say poverty made her susceptible to people traffickers, who promised her a job as a maid in Malaysia but instead made her an unwitting drug mule.

The previous Philippine government made it a priority to try to delay and eventually overturn Veloso’s death sentence. Her case has drawn international criticism of capital punishment in Indonesia.

Veloso’s lawyer, Edre Olalia, told the Guardian that Veloso’s family and legal team were waiting for “indubitable A1 confirmation either way”, and that no comment would be made until official information had been received from both the Philippine and Indonesian governments.

Migrante International, a group that promotes the rights of overseas Filipino workers, said it and the Veloso family were in shock over the news from Jakarta.

It said: “We demand an immediate explanation from President Duterte and [Foreign] Secretary[Perfecto] Yasay, both duty-bound to defend the rights of Filipinos overseas, especially drug trafficking victims like Mary Jane.”

Duterte, a former prosecutor, said last week that he would ask Jokowi – as the Indonesian president is known – to call off Veloso’s execution, but that ultimately he would respect Indonesia’s laws. “If my pleadings will fall on deaf ears, I am ready to accept it – for the simple reason I do not doubt the judicial system of Indonesia,” he said.

“So, I might just accept the system and plead for mercy. But if President Widodo will deny it, still I would be grateful that she has been treated very well,” he added.

Jokowi delayed Veloso’s execution date in April 2015 with a temporary reprieve hours before she was due to be killed.

Her reprieve came after Maria Kristina Sergio, a woman accused of recruiting Veloso, handed herself in to police in Manila. The former Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, made an appeal to Jokowi on the basis that Veloso would be needed as a witness in the case against Sergio.

President Rodrigo Duterte, Mary Jane Veloso
President Rodrigo Duterte, Mary Jane Veloso
Indonesia shot dead eight people in April 2015, including two Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who had fought a years-long campaign for clemency and were part of the Bali Nine heroin-smuggling ring. Four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian were also killed.

Veloso has also won sympathy in Indonesia, which, like the Philippines, has a large foreign worker diaspora. She says she fled Dubai after an attempted rape.

Duterte took office in June after winning elections on a promise to kill tens of thousands of criminals. He has vowed to press on with his campaign despite growing international criticism.

Jokowi is waging his own war against drugs and has ordered the execution of 18 convicted smugglers, including 15 foreigners, since taking office in October 2014.

Indonesia’s anti-drugs chief this month voiced support for implementing a bloody crackdown on traffickers similar to that in the Philippines, saying he believed such a campaign would safeguard “our beloved country”.

Source: The Guardian, September 12, 2016

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