Manila: Overseas Filipino workers’ rights groups held vigils as Indonesian authorities scheduled the execution of a Filipina domestic helper and nine other drug convicts, who were brought on Friday to an island where they will be executed by firing squad, sources said.
“Prayer rallies for Mary Jane Veloso began nationwide. They will continue until the announcement of her execution at the Nusakambangan Island where she and fellow drug convicts were brought early morning of Friday,” said Jaime Paglinawan, chair of Bayan, a militant group.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government officials were making a last-ditch effort to save the OFW, who was sentenced to death in 2010, the sources said.
Four Nigerian men, two Australian men, and one each from Brazil,
France and Indonesia were also brought to Nusakambangan Island for the executions.
Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay said he scheduled a meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the end of the 60th Asian-African Conference Commemoration on Friday, to appeal Veloso’s case.
The meeting is important because Indonesia Attorney-General Office spokesman Tony Spontana announced that the execution of the convicted drug traffickers was scheduled after the end of the Asian-African Conference Commemoration on April 24.
Spontana was quoted as saying that the date of execution was mentioned in letters dated April 23, which were sent to governments with nationals who were sentenced to die.
Binay said he held an earlier meeting with Indonesian Vice-President Yusuf Kalla to raise the same issue of saving Veloso’s life.
Announcing another last-ditch effort from the government, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Yabes said, “We have filed the second appeal today. It informs the Indonesian court that Veloso is not a drug trafficker, that she is a victim.”
The Philippine government also told Indonesian authorities that a drug trafficking case was filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against Kristina Sergio — who gave Veloso the luggage that contained the 2.6kg of heroin that was seized from her at the Yogyakarta Airport in 2010.
“She should be repatriated because she was a victim of human trafficking,” argued Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, a group helping the Philippines government in arguing Veloso’s case.
The Philippine government promised to assist Veloso’s children and parents to go to Nusakambangan Island following their arrival in Jakarta on Thursday.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities did not inform the Veloso’s lawyers and the Philippine Embassy about the transfer of the drug convicts to Nusakambangan island. They were given a reprieve last month after they filed their appeals.