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Filipina’s family begs Widodo for her life

Family members of Philippine domestic worker on death row Mary Jane Veloso (l-r): mother Celia Veloso, 55, sons Mark Daniel Candelaria, 12, Mark Darren Candelaria, 8, father Cesar Veloso, 59, and sister Marites Veloso-Laurente, protest in front on the Indonesian Embassy in suburban Manila on Wednesday. The family of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia made a tear-laden appeal for her life April 8, insisting that an international drug syndicate framed the single mother of two young boys. AFP photo/Jay Directo

Family members of Philippine domestic worker on death row Mary Jane Veloso (l-r): mother Celia Veloso, 55, sons Mark Daniel Candelaria, 12, Mark Darren Candelaria, 8, father Cesar Veloso, 59, and sister Marites Veloso-Laurente, protest in front on the Indonesian Embassy in suburban Manila on Wednesday. The family of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia made a tear-laden appeal for her life April 8, insisting that an international drug syndicate framed the single mother of two young boys. AFP photo/Jay Directo

Manila [AFP]

The family of a Filipina on death row with Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia has made a tearful appeal for her life, insisting that an international drug syndicate duped the single mother of two.

Mary Jane Veloso, 30, has been in an Indonesian jail for five years after being caught at Yogyakarta airport with 2.6 kilograms of heroin, and is among a batch of foreigners facing imminent execution.

But her parents and sister said a crime syndicate involving a friend had deceived her, and she did not know the drugs had been sown into her suitcase before flying from Malaysia.

‘Please don’t kill my sister. She is innocent. If you kill her, you will have blood on your hands,’ Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente said in a plea to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Jakarta is waiting on the appeal efforts of Veloso and a few other prisoners before setting an execution date for the entire group of 10 prisoners, including Chan and Sukumaran.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, Veloso’s father said the syndicate that used her as an unwitting drug mule had pledged to kill all family members if they reported the racket to authorities or went to the media.

‘Life’s been hard. We’ve been living in fear. My daughter’s recruiters have been threatening us… they threatened to kill us one by one,’ said 59-year-old Cesar Veloso.

The family is from a poor farming town about three hours’ drive north of Manila, and Veloso had sought to provide for her two young sons by working as a maid overseas.

The single mother initially worked for nine months in Dubai in 2009 but was forced to come home after her employer tried to rape her, according to her father.

A family friend then offered Veloso work as a maid in Malaysia.

When Veloso got to Malaysia she was told the job was no longer available but there was another one in Indonesia if she flew there immediately, according to her parents.

‘My sister’s a loving person, she’s so kind. But she trusts too much. We don’t engage in vices or anything illegal, no cigarettes, no alcohol,’ her elder sister said.

When Veloso was arrested, her sons were aged just one and seven and they too have become victims.

‘It’s as if they lost all hope… they are worried about what would happen to them if their mother never came back,’ the Veloso matriarch, Celia, said as her two grandsons sat quietly next to her.

She said the eldest son, Mark Daniel Candelaria, 12, was struggling at school and may have to repeat eighth grade.

Veloso’s youngest, Mark Darren, 6, copes by singing his mother’s favourite song, a Filipino ballad called Just wait, which has become an anthem of hope for the family.

Veloso’s mother, 55, insisted that if her daughter was involved in the drug trade, her family would have seen some benefits of it.

‘We beg you, Mr Indonesian president, if my daughter was involved in drugs, we wouldn’t be this poor,’ she said.

The Indonesian Supreme Court last week denied Veloso’s request to review her conviction.

The Philippine government said Wednesday it would file a second appeal.

Veloso’s parents and sons also visited the Indonesian embassy in Manila on Wednesday to lodge a letter appealing to Widodo for mercy.


8 responses to “Filipina’s family begs Widodo for her life”

  1. Julie says:

    PLEASE HELP Mary Jane and her children be re-united before it is too late

    Mary Jane was a victim of large-scale international drug syndicates, of circumstance and of government neglect.

    UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns on extrajudicial executions had also appealed to Wododo to stop the executions on the basis that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported information that suggests that Veloso and her 14 other fellow accused were convicted after unfair trials. The same report attested that all of them did not receive sufficient legal services or the right to translators, and had no legal representation at all stages of their trials.
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/42/66/d4/4266d426a02b4cac2aba0e49b3d099cb.jpg
    WRITE TO
    H.E. President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo to grant her clemency on grounds of a mistrial and for humanitarian reasons.
    Email: [email protected]
    Twitter: @jokowi_do2

    SIGN ALL PETITIONS at

    * Amnesty International –
    http://www.amnesty.ie/content/six-executed-nine-more-risk-indonesia

    * Amnesty International Australia website
    http://www.amnesty.org.au/action/action/36419/

    * Mercy Campaign website
    http://mercycampaign.org/

    * Force Change website
    http://forcechange.com/138313/prevent-executions-of-nine-men/#gf_17

  2. Amy Chapman says:

    This story breaks my heart! She is a mother, a sister a daughter and more importantly innocent!! It makes me so upset and angry to read what’s happening!! Let her live!! What will killing her do to help Indonesia what the main problem is the president and government!!

  3. Amanda Harding says:

    Mercy and Justice for Mary Jane xx #keephopealive

  4. Julie says:

    Please help to save Mary Jane’s life. No one deserves the Death Penalty. I think she is innocent. She has small children and they need their Mother. #mercy

  5. Maria Roberts says:

    The death penalty must stop NOW!!! Innocent peoples lives are in jeopardy!!! Lord please intervene.x

  6. michelle sandifer says:

    Please have mercy for Mary Jane. Reject the death penalty!!!

  7. Rebecca says:

    So incredibly sad. Please show MERCY to those on death row. We are praying for you and your families xxx

  8. Tess says:

    Her story is so tragic . The struggles of her family’s daily life so evident on their faces. Even if she knew about the drugs this does not in the slightest way deserve the death sentence . It’s horrific . Hoping for change in Indonesia and hoping for something better for her sons

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