|Mary Jane Veloso|
The Nueva Ecija trial court hearing the trafficking case against the couple who recruited Mary Jane Veloso has scheduled the deposition of the Filipina in death row in Indonesia, her lawyers said Saturday.
The National Union of People's Lawyers, which is helping prosecute Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao and also in efforts to convince Indonesia to take Veloso off death row, said Judge Anaarica Castillo-Reyes of Sto. Domingo Regional Trial Court Branch 88, who took over the trial after the inhibition of the original judge, had scheduled the taking of Mary Jane's testimony on April 27 at the Yogyakarta prison where she is detained.
"During the scheduled deposition, Mary Jane will answer the exhaustive written questions prepared by her Filipino private lawyers which will be directly propounded to her by a Philippine consul with the facilitation and cooperation of Indonesian authorities," the NUPL said.
The human rights lawyers' group noted that "the deposition will be taken at almost the exact date 2 years ago when Mary Jane was magnanimously granted by the Indonesian government a last-minute standing reprieve from the death penalty after furious and intense efforts and overwhelming clamor to save her life."
Veloso was intercepted as she arrived in Jakarta in April 2010 with 2.6 kilos of heroin in her luggage and subsequently sentenced to death later that year. Spared by a moratorium on executions by fomer President Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono, she was scheduled for execution in January 2015 after the election of President Joko Widodo but earned the last-minute reprieve, in part due to the fierce lobby of Indonesian workers' rights advocates.
Veloso maintains her innocence saying she was duped by Sergio and Lacanilao and a member of a foreign human trafficking ring into carrying the luggage containing the drugs.
The NUPL said Castillo-Reyes' order allowing Veloso "to freely tell her whole story and cruel ordeal which will be officially considered by the ... trial court" was "another legal vindication" for the worker and her family.
"Being the victim, Mary Jane is the most credible and competent witness that could prove not only the guilt of the accused in these Philippine cases but, eventually and more importantly, the full and unabbreviated circumstances that led to her conviction in Indonesia," the group said.
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