MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III is okay despite the negative statements made by Celia Veloso, mother of a Filipino who was recently given execution reprieve by the Indonesian government.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a television interview Wednesday, said the Chief Executive continues to understand where Mary Jane’s mother is coming from.
”Sa Pangulo po naman ay nandoon po iyong unawa po niya, iyong patuloy pa rin na pag-reach out. Dahil katulad nga po ng kanyang pahayag, mahalaga po ang buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso, mahalaga ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino, at bilang Ama ng Bayan ginagawa niya ang nararapat para matulungan po si Mary Jane at ang mga manggagawang Pilipino,” he said.
The older Veloso maintains that the Philippine government failed in really helping her daughter, who was jailed for drug-related charges for about five years.
She, however, thanked the President for a last ditch effort when he talked with Indonesia President Joko Widodo during the 26th ASEAN Summit held in Malaysia last April 26-27.
Veloso was scheduled for execution on the early hours of April 29, 2015 but was saved after Aquino told the Indonesian Foreign Minister that Veloso can be a witness by helping Indonesian authorities in the fight against illegal drugs.
Veloso was convicted of drug trafficking after some 2.6 kilograms of heroin was found in her luggage in 2010 while she on her way to Yogyakarta from Kuala Lumpur.
Her family maintained that she did not know about the illegal drug and that she was a victim of human trafficking.
Asked whether Celia or her family should ask for the President’s forgiveness for the negative statements they made, Coloma said this should be decided on by the Veloso family.
“Ipapaubaya na lang po natin sa kanilang pasya, at kinikilala naman po natin na sa hirap ng kanilang pinagdaanan ay mabigat ang mga emosyon, mabigat po ang kalooban nila. Kaya lubos na po ang pag-unawa din namin sa kanilang sitwasyon at nais lang naman pong makatulong ang ating Pangulo at ng ating pamahalaan sa anumang paraan na makakabawas sa bigat ng kanilang pinapasan,” he said.
“At uulitin ko nga po, napakahalaga po ng buhay ni Mary Jane at ng bawat Pilipino at ito po ang nais na gampanan na tungkulin ni Pangulo: iyong pangalagaan po ang mga karapatan at ang buhay po, ang pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” he added.