MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte is planning to talk to the family of Mary Jane Veloso who is in the death row for drug trafficking in Indonesia following a meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week.
Upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport over the weekend from a working visit to Indonesia, the President did not divulge any details about his discussion on the matter with the Indonesian leader when asked about the status of Veloso’s case.
“There are matters that I cannot tell you now. I’m sorry. I’m not at liberty but maybe I can talk to the family first, before anything else,“ he said.
President Duterte said there was a wide range of topics covered in his talk with Widodo especially in terms of security arrangements, including the Filipinos who are in jail facing charges in Indonesia.
When asked if Widodo has agreed not to proceed with Veloso’s execution, President Duterte responded by saying: “Well, I said there are things which I cannot divulge now because it will not be in keeping with good manners and right conduct. Let me talk to the family first. Kasi ma-telegraph mo na, if I say something here, I’ll be telegraphing my message, whether it is really good or bad. You have to consider the feelings of the family.”
In a radio interview over DZBB by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday, he said the President did not mention even to his government officials what he and Widodo had talked about on Veloso’s case.
“Iyong kay Mary Jane Veloso, doon sa kaso niya, ayaw banggitin sa amin ng Pangulo kung ano ang napag-usapan, kaya silang dalawa lang ni Presidente Widodo. And of course, sabi nga ni Presidente doon sa arrival speech dito sa Davao, na mahalaga na makausap muna ng Presidente ang pamilya ni Mary Jane,” he said.
“Whether good or bad, basta para lang respeto sa pamilya. Kaya he did not elaborate more baka ma-telegraph daw iyong kaniyang punches,” the PCO chief added.
When asked about reports on possible deferment of Veloso’s death sentence, Secretary Andanar said, “May sinabi si Secretary Jun Yasay na indefinite ‘no, suspended. Hindi pa yata iyon. Parang iyong indefinite suspension, iyon ang noon pa iyon, ‘di ba? Hindi muna nilabas eh. So, Secretary Jun Yasay, he reiterated that decision. Mukhang dati na iyong desisyon na iyon eh,” he said.