The Philippines has again sought clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina who had been on death row in Indonesia for over a decade.
Veloso's case has spanned three presidents and her father had pinned the family's hopes on incumbent Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who went on a state visit to Indonesia earlier this week, to free her daughter and bring her home.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Philippine Foreign Sec. Enrique Manalo relayed the request for clemency during a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.
Here are key developments in the Mary Jane Veloso case:
- In 2010, Veloso was arrested at Yogyakarta Airport with 2.6 kilos of heroin and was later sentenced to death by firing squad. Indonesia has one of the region's toughest anti-narcotics laws.
- Veloso claimed the heroin was sown into her suitcase before she flew to Indonesia from Malaysia and that her friend deceived her, her family told AFP in 2015.
- Veloso was moments away from execution in 2015 when then President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino broke protocol and asked his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, to grant her a temporary reprieve so that she could testify against her recruiters.
- When former President Rodrigo Duterte met Widodo in 2016, the Indonesian leader said his Filipino counterpart gave him the go signal to execute Veloso, which the Duterte government denied.
- Like Widodo, Duterte won the presidential election on a tough anti-crime platform that centered on dismantling drug rings.
- Incumbent President Marcos embarks on a state visit to Indonesia in early September, the first foreign trip of his presidency. He meets Widodo at the presidential palace.
Filipinos getting executed abroad for acting as drug mules, unwittingly or not, underscores how OFWs can be vulnerable to abuse. The Marcos government will see the realization of a cabinet office that is solely dedicated to migrant workers.
Veloso is among the most followed OFWs to have faced legal action abroad. In the 1990s, Filipina household worker Flor Contemplacion was executed in Singapore for killing her fellow OFW, Delia Maga, despite pleadings for clemency from the Filipino public.