Veloso’s alleged recruiters surrender to police

By , on April 28, 2015

Mary Jane Veloso's alleged recruiter, Maria Kristina Sergio, defends self from allegations. (Screengrab from ABS-CBN News)
Mary Jane Veloso’s alleged recruiter, Maria Kristina Sergio, defends self from allegations. (Screengrab from ABS-CBN News)

Alleged recruiters of drug trafficking convict Mary Jane Veloso have turned themselves in to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office (NEPPO) in Cabanatuan Office at 10:30 a.m. today, just hours before Veloso’s possible execution.

Maria Kristina Sergio alias Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla and live-in partner Julius Lacanilao surrendered to the authorities in fear of their lives after they were tagged as Veloso’s recruiters to Indonesia.

Sergio talked to Chief Inspector Julius Manucdoc and sought assistance as ‘she has been receiving death threats.’ Sergio and Lacanilao are now under the custody of NEPPO.

Sergio maintained, however, that she knew nothing about the smuggling of heroin in Indonesia and of using Veloso as a drug mule. Sergio also appealed for legal assistance for defense from accusations hurled against her and her live-in partner.

Prior surrendering to the police, Sergio denied all allegations against her and asked not to be prejudged.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), on the other hand, had earlier filed charges of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and estafa against Sergio, Lacanilao and an African decent only known by the name Ike. The preliminary investigation on the case is scheduled on May 8 and May 14.

According to the NBI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division criminal complaint, Veloso was a ‘victim of human trafficking owing to the fact of her vulnerability since she was looking for a job to support her family, and was exploited by her recruiters thru manipulation and deception, in order for her to unwittingly transport contraband without her knowledge.’

Veloso is currently imprisoned at the Indonesian prison of Nusakambangan and is sentenced to an execution by firing squad anytime after 5 p.m. today for trafficking heroin into Indonesia in 2010.

Veloso’s camp, however, still argues that she unknowingly smuggled 2.6 kilograms of heroin found inside the lining of her luggage. They claimed that Veloso was only deceived by Sergio with the promise of giving her a job as a domestic worker, and providing everything she needed including personal needs, clothes and the luggage.

Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III himself earlier appealed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo after the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. He also recently talked to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, asserting that Veloso’s life should be spared as she could be a state witness to the drug syndicate in Indonesia, especially now that her alleged recruiters have already surfaced.

However, as of posting, the Sleman District Court’s ruling to execute Veloso remains.