President Rodrigo Duterte took up convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso’s case during his tête-à-tête with Indonesia President Joko Widodo at the Istana Merdeka in Jakarta on Friday. But he refused to give details of their conversation on the fate of Veloso who remained on death row in Indonesia’s prison after being saved a by a last-minute reprieve from her scheduled death by firing squad in May 2015 from an appeal by then President Benigno Aquino III.
“Not for public consumption,” said the President in a short talk with media after concluding his meeting with Widodo. Pressed on to comment on whether he exchanged notes with Widodo on antidrug measures, the President said: “No, I said that we will continue to respect each other’s judicial processes. The rule of law is what matters, gives order to the community.” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said both governments felt no urgency to take action in the case as she had been taken off the execution schedule indefinitely at the moment. “This is not an urgent issue as of now, let’s finish the process. Her scheduled execution has been deferred because she would be testifying in the deposition case against her illegal recruiter. After prosecuting the illegal recruiter who are the main principals here and if it turns out in the trial in the Philippines that Mary Jane is a victim then at the point we can ask for clemency soon,” said Yasay. Yasay is hopeful that the case against the illegal recruiter of Veloso, who was caught with 2.5 kilograms of cocaine inside the lining of her bag at the Indonesian airport in 2010, will be resolved in a year’s time. In the meantime, Yasay said Veloso had been allowed to give her deposition in the case pending with the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial court.