Philippine human rights group Karapatan denounced the BS Aquino regime’s gross criminal negligence of overseas Filipino workers on death row, especially in the case of Mary Jane Veloso.
“We denounce the gross inability of the Philippine government to protect its citizens who, in the absence of better opportunities in the country, venture to seek employment abroad despite immense difficulties,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.
According to Migrante International, Mary Jane Veloso is the eighth OFW put on death row under B. S. Aquino’s watch. Seven have already been executed before her, earning for the Aquino regime the stature of having the most number of OFW executions since the Philippine Labor Export Policy was hatched in 1970.There are at least 125 more OFWs on death row in other countries where capital punishment is also imposed.
Veloso has been in jail since 2010. According to her family and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Christof Heyns, she underwent an unfair trial. She was not given a lawyer and an interpreter when the police first interrogated her in Bahasa Indonesia. During the trial proper, she was given a public lawyer by the police and a student translator not licensed by the Association of Indonesian Translators to translate the proceedings from Bahasa Indonesia to English, both languages Mary Jane is not fluent in. Mary Jane was sentenced to death.
The Philippine government did not give her any legal assistance from investigation to conviction. Even the first visit to jail in Indonesia of the Veloso family was financed through contributions from fellow inmates and jail guards. “It was only lately when the appeals for clemency for Mary Jane have intensified and when the final verdict of execution by firing squad is nearing that the B.S. Aquino government is frantically acting,” said Palabay.
“We appeal for justice and clemency for Veloso. Aside from the injustice she is suffering under the Indonesian legal system, she is a victim of government neglect – the inability to provide jobs in the country, the avarice for dollar remittances to keep the economy afloat amidst bureaucrat-capitalist corruption and foreign-and-elite-interest’s domination. Veloso is another victim of vulnerability and desperation of a life immersed in poverty,” Palabay concluded.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.