MANILA – According to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, The Philippine government is seeking ways to extend drug trafficking convict Mary Jane Veloso’s temporary reprieve, as she is required to undergo legal proceedings in the country.
The government also wants Veloso to personally testify in her human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa charges against alleged recruiters Maria Kristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. Hence, they want Veloso to return to the country as she is the complainant and witness in the said cases.
Should Veloso be allowed to testify, her temporary retrieve could last a couple of more months.
“We will discuss that option. A special task force is looking into that possibility under the context of Indonesian laws and the application of the ASEAN-MLAT (Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty),” De Lima said.
Indonesian Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo and Minister for Justice and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin were informed beforehand of the need of Veloso to participate in investigations.
“We told them of the need to make Veloso available during the preliminary investigation and possible trial as required under Philippine laws,” De Lima shared.
Aside from allowing Veloso’s return to the Philippines, the government is also looking into the possibility of her being granted full pardon.
“If her claims are validated in the result of the preliminary probe, then that would be good for her. It could lead to other remedies because remember, drug smuggling and human trafficking are considered transnational crimes,” De Lima said.
It can be recalled that Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier rejected appeals of executive clemency for Veloso.