The Nueva Ecija trial court handling the trafficking case against the couple who recruited Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina in death row in Indonesia, has scheduled her deposition on April 27 in Indonesia.
In a statement, the National Union of People’s Lawyers said Judge Anaarica Castillo-Reyes of Sto. Domingo Regional Trial Court Branch 88 said Veloso’s testimony will be scheduled at the Yogyakarta prison where she is currently 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 lawyer group is helping the Veloso family to prosecute recruiters Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, and convince the Indonesian authorities to commute her death sentence for alleged drug trafficking.
Castillo-Reyes took over the trial of Sergio and Lacanilao after the original judge inhibited from the case.
“The deposition will be taken at almost the exact date two 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,” the group noted.
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.
Veloso, who was arrested at the Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta in April 2010 for bringing illegal drugs into Indonesia, was among the nine foreigners scheduled for execution in 2015, but got a last-minute reprieve after the previous Aquino administration intervened.
In October 2010, Veloso was sentenced to death by a panel of judges at the District Court of Sleman, Yogyakarta. She would be executed at Nusakambangan Prison in Cilacap, but no date has been set.
Veloso has been spared twice, following the presentation of a case in the Philippines that said she had been duped into smuggling heroin into Indonesia by a drug syndicate.
Last year, Sergio admitted in a hearing at the Justice Department that she and Lacanilao, her live-in partner, worked for an international drug ring.