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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

UAE pardons 3 Filipinos, seeks clemency for Veloso


By: Nestor Corrales
14 minutes ago

Mary Jane Veloso — Photo Courtesy of Veloso Family

Mary Jane Veloso — Photo Courtesy of Veloso Family

Calls were renewed for Philippine ally Indonesia on death row inmate Mary Jane Vey after United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan pardoned three convicted Filipinos at the request of President Marcos. Rosso granted leniency.

On Friday, the president called the UAE president to thank him for responding positively to an appeal made by Mr Marcos in April, before calling again.

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafier said in a statement on Friday night that Mr. Marcos called the sheikh on Friday after the UAE ambassador, Mohammad Emirati. Obaid Salem Al-Zaabi informed the government that the requested amnesty had been granted.

Of the three Filipinos pardoned, two were sentenced to death for drug trafficking and the other was sentenced to 15 years in prison for defamation.

In addition to the pardon, Marcos thanked Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and de facto ruler, for delivering 50 tons of food and medicine to families displaced by the Mayon riots.

For his part, the UAE leader noted the invaluable contributions of some 600,000 Filipinos working in the UAE, and reiterated his invitation to Mr. Marcos to attend the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai in December.

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When Galafel announced the pardon, the local workers’ organization International Migration again called on the president to continue asking the Indonesian government to pardon Veloso.

“We’re asking President Bunny Marcos Jr. to take more proactive action and call on the Indonesian government to show clemency to Mary Jane,” said Joanna Concepcion, the group’s president.

Marcos had asked President Joko Widodo to “re-examine” Veloso’s case during the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia last year.

But Indonesian leaders replied that it was their law and they had given Veloso a “deferred” sentence.

Veloso was convicted of drug smuggling in 2010 when 2.6kg of heroin was found hidden in her suitcase upon arrival at Yogyakarta’s Adi Sucipto International Airport.

She was later sentenced to death with a rifle, but the sentence was suspended after new evidence emerged that suggested she too was a victim of drug cartels.

“I know my mother is just a victim, she is a good person and a good mother,” said Veloso’s son Mark, who was able to visit her detained in Wonosari, Yogyakarta.

“I hope she gets clemency soon so we can be together. Our life in the Philippines may be simple, but what matters is that we are together,” said Mark, who last saw his mother in 2019.


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