Jailed Filipino maid blocked from giving testimony
Mary Jane Veloso was arrested in Indonesia and convicted for smuggling heroin in her luggage
The Court of Appeals in the Philippines has blocked a domestic worker from testifying against a couple she accused of recruiting her to smuggle drugs into Indonesia.
Filipino Mary Jane Veloso, 32, has been denied the chance to give her testimony from an Indonesian prison after lawyers for the couple that allegedly recruited her, Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, won their appeal, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Veloso was arrested in April, 2010 in Indonesia after 5.7 pounds of heroin was found in her luggage. She was sentenced to death in January, 2015 but was granted a stay of execution three months later.
Sergio and Lacanilao were later arrested for human trafficking. Their case is being held in a Nueva Ecija City court in the Philippines.
Last year, Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes instructed prosecution lawyers to take Veloso’s testimony. But the lawyers of the defendants filed and won an appeal to prevent that. They claimed it was a violation of the couple’s rights to directly confront her.
Veloso has always insisted that the luggage she was traveling with from Malaysia to Indonesia was provided by Sergio and Lacanilao, a charge they deny. Her family now plans to appeal to the Philippine government.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers, who helped Veloso with her case, said the court ruling was frustrating and ironic, Interaksyon News reported.