LEGAZPI CITY, May 2 (PNA) -- Bicolanos have withdrawn their sympathy for the family of Mary Jane Veloso as they described them “ungrateful” over their scathing words against the government and President Aquino.
Most took the social media to express their dismay over the tirades of the Velosos as they arrived Friday from Indonesia where Mary Jane was supposed to be executed by firing squad but given a reprieve on the 11th hour of the execution scheduled last Wednesday.
Earlier, people here -- on hearing about the reprieve minutes after it was announced early morning Wednesday -- said prayers made by Filipinos and humble diplomacy exerted by President Aquino worked for Mary Jane.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo stayed Veloso's execution after the Philippine President asked that she be made a witness against a human trafficking ring that duped her into smuggling drugs.
But Cecilia, Veloso’s mother, claimed that President Aquino should not be credited for the reprieve that saved her daughter from death by firing squad and even said the government has a lot to account to them.
Veloso's sister, Marites, said had the government not been remiss, her sister would not have been in trouble.
Reacting to these claims, the President said on Friday that the government did all that it could even as his administration was not involved in the creation of the problem that surfaced in April 2010, months before he became President.
Ofelia Samar-Sy, a prominent medical practitioner here, on Saturday said in her Facebook post: “When we help we usually don't expect anything in return. But a simple 'thank you' will make our day. Our President and government, after doing everything, defying protocols, don't deserve such ingratitude from the Veloso family. I regret having prayed and taken vigil spending sleepless night over Mary Jane's case. So be it. Deserve your fate.”
Benz Soriano: “Instead of saying 'thanks', they joined rallies to hit the government and Pres. Noynoy. I hate this family and the people around coaching them and doing nothing but malign the government. I spent some minutes praying for Mary Jane but her mother ruined my sympathy. It is very saddening.”
Tin Balayo: “I am withdrawing my sympathy for this family but don’t regret saying prayers for Mary Jane’s life when she was on the verge of death.”
Farooha Shieng Neib: “Ungrateful family. Perhaps, they don’t know what they are saying. I pity them but no longer sympathize with them.”
Aldine B. Miña: “Let them pay for the government expenses in their going to Indonesia. It was people’s money, anyway.”
Glenn Thaddeus Isip: “Because of that, majority among us in Bicol and perhaps across the country have waived their sympathy to the Veloso family.”
These are only a few of hundreds more of reactions from Bicolano netizens posted on their social network accounts—some used foul languages against the Veloso family to express their detestation over their anti-government tirades but maintained that Mary Jane’s death sentence should be commuted to a lower penalty or she be given an absolute clemency.
A native of Nueva Ecija, Mary Jane, who was recruited to work as a domestic helper, was sentenced to death by the Indonesian court after she was caught at the Yogyakart Airpot, Indonesia, in April 2010 bringing in 2.6 kilograms of heroin concealed in her luggage.
She claimed she was tricked by her recruiter into bringing the luggage unaware of the contraband in it.
After the death sentence was meted out, Pres. Aquino, in August 2011, appealed for clemency from then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but in October 2014, the newly elected president of Indonesia Joko Widodo declared an all-out war on drug trafficking and rejected all clemency appeals for prisoners convicted of the crime.
On Jan. 19, 2015, the Philippine government ask for a judicial review of Mary Jane’s case and less than a month later President Aquino talked to President Jokowi, who was in state visit in the Philippines, over the matter.
At the sideline of the Asean Summit in Malaysia a couple of days before the execution schedule, President Aquino, breaking the protocol, talked again to Jokowi and convinced him to postpone Mary Jane’s firing squad death to allow her to give evidence to an investigation into the drug network that allegedly duped her following the surrender of, Maria Kristina Sergio, her recruiter.
A Bicolana native of Camarines Sur, Sergio, who is said to be Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla in her hometown of Nabua where she left her husband and two children for another man several years back, is now facing charges of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa filed with the local court by government prosecutors.
In an official statement, Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said "There was an official request submitted to the president (Joko Widodo) and president responded to the request. We gave the Philippines government some time to reveal the truth of human trafficking crime. The Philippines government has asked Indonesia to postpone the execution of Mary Jane (Veloso), as she needs to testify for the case. Mary Jane was asked to give detailed information and testify, that's why we postponed it as we respected the ongoing legal process in the Philippines."
And so, Mary Jane was temporary spared from the firing squad even as the Indonesian government on Wednesday proceeded, despite worldwide appeals, with the execution of eight other drug convicts, mostly foreigners, whom she had spent years in the death row with.
Days ahead of the scheduled execution, the Philippine government granted the request of the Veloso family for them to be in Indonesia purposely to be with Mary Jane on the last hours of her life and bring home along with them her lifeless body afterwards.
The government spent for their transportation and stay abroad.
But upon their return on Friday, leaving behind Mary Jane in prison still alive after the Indonesian had given her the reprieve, the words they uttered against President Aquino and the Philippine government were not what were expected from them, to the dismay of well-meaning Bicolano citizens.
“This family should remember that the reprieve given to Mary Jane is only temporary and the Philippine government still has a lot of things to do to get her out of the Indonesian prison alive and be able to rejoin her family,” Balayo added.(PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/pjn