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Duterte called to exhaust all means to save Veloso

Human rights, cause-oriented and students groups appealed to President Duterte to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso who is languishing in Indonesia’s death row months after being spared from execution by firing squad.

Hundreds of militant groups including members of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) marched to Mendiola yesterday to seek Duterte’s support following reports from Jakarta that he had purportedly given Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo the green light to finally impose the death penalty on a Filipino citizen.

Malacañang has denied the Jakarta report by saying that Duterte only asked Widodo to abide by Indonesian law, which is tantamount to egging him to carry out the execution.

Widodo spared the life of Veloso last year due to pressure from Filipino activists and Indonesia human rights lawyers who argued that Veloso was only used as a drug mule.

The labor recruiters of Veloso are currently on trial in the Philippines and the judge hearing the case needs the deposition of the imprisoned overseas Filipino worker (OFW.)

“We are gathered here today to demand immediate action from the Duterte administration in the case of Mary Jane Veloso. We maintain that Mary Jane Veloso should be saved from execution,” said LFS national spokesperson JP Rosos.

“Also, we want President Duterte to clarify his statement that was reported by the Indonesian government and news agencies. Indonesia tells us that our President gave the green light for Mary Jane’s execution but our Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) tells otherwise.

“President Duterte needs to explicitly and categorically state the Philippines’ desire to exclude Mary Jane from execution,” he added.

Rosos said Veloso’s reprieve from execution was the result of the collective action of the people.

He pointed out that allowing Mary Jane to be executed “without giving any fight is the biggest insult to the Filipino people.” (Chito Chavez)