Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima believes the government’s bid to save Mary Jane Veloso from execution in Indonesia was bolstered by the sworn statements of her alleged recruiters.
Justice Secretary De Lima expressed optimism over the admission of Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao through their counter-affidavits that Veloso did not know she was carrying illegal drugs into Indonesia.
The couple’s statements, the justice secretary said, would be a big boost to Veloso’s lawyers in their appeal for the reversal of her drug smuggling conviction and her death sentence.
“This is a good development and an indication that we are at the right direction, right track… If it will be proven in the ongoing investigation (that she is innocent), this will be a big thing for Mary Jane,” De Lima told reporters.
She added that the government will inform Indonesian authorities of the alleged recruiters’ sworn affidavits “for their own appreciation.”
The affidavits of the suspects of the suspects will be translated from English to Bahasa before the Indonesian lawyers representing Veloso present it to the attorney general’s office, said Edre Olalia, Veloso’s lawyer from the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
The statement, Olalia said, will be used as evidence to prove Veloso’s innocence in Indonesian courts.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad for drug smuggling but her execution was suspended following appeals from the Philippine government and the alleged recruiters’ surrender to authorities.
In her affidavit, Sergio said Veloso was victimized by two African-looking men she identified as “Ike” and “John” who befriended Mary Jane while they were in Malaysia in 2010 looking for jobs.
Sergio said Veloso was taken advantage of because of her tendency to trust people, even strangers.