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PHL gov’t still lobbying for Filipino on death row in Indonesia 

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday night said his government would continue lobbying for commutation or pardon for Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino overseas worker who has been on death row for more than a decade after she was arrested in 2010 for allegedly smuggling heroin into Indonesia. 

“The impasse is we continue to ask for a commutation or even a pardon or just an extradition back to the Philippines, and that is constantly there,” he told reporters in Indonesia, based on a Palace-supplied transcript. 

The Filipino overseas worker was sentenced to death in October 2010 and was granted a stay of execution in April 2015.  

Filipino lawyers have defended that Ms. Veloso, who was caught smuggling 2.6 kilos of heroin hidden in the lining of a suitcase, was a victim of human trafficking.  

Mr. Marcos claimed the government did not stop in asking the Indonesian government for Ms. Veloso’s pardon, commutation of sentence, or even extradition to serve her sentence in the Philippines. 

The Philippine foreign affairs department had asked Indonesia in September 2022 to pardon Ms. Veloso. 

“But the Indonesians answered us that this is the law. This is the law in Indonesia and we have to implement it,” he said. “And they have already given us postponement… but that doesn’t mean it’s done.” 

“We said, yes, we understand that she is convicted. We understand that the law in Indonesia is that way. But nonetheless, we might find other ways.” 

Mr. Marcos is in Indonesia for the 42nd Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Indonesia, which started on May 9 and will end on May 11. 

Indonesia chairs the ASEAN this year. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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