NUPL lauds life sentence on Mary Jane Veloso’s, but her father still sad because she’s still in death row

STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija — The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) lauded on Thursday the decision of the court imposing life sentence against the couple who allegedly sent to Indonesia Mary Jane Veloso in connection with the large-scale illegal recruitment charges filed against them by three women.

The sentence that also includes a penalty of P2 million was handed down by Regional Trial Court Branch 88 Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes against Julius Lacanilao and Maria Cristina Sergio.

The complaints were filed in May 2015 by Ana Marie Gonzales, Lorna Valino, and Jenalyn Paraiso who said they were, like Veloso, lured by the couple to work abroad.

Unlike Veloso, however, they did not pursue their applications.

With the court’s decision, the NUPL which stands as private prosecutor, expressed belief that this will boost their bid to free Veloso from Indonesian prison.

Veloso was reportedly caught with 2.2 kilos of heroin in her luggage at the Yogyakarta airport in 2010.

She was later convicted and sentenced to death through firing squad.

“Ayon sa hukuman, malinaw na napatunayan ng prosekusyon ang pagkakasala ng dalawa. Ang large-scale illegal recruitment na nadesisyunan ay hiwalay sa simple illegal recruitment at isa pang kaso ng estafa na inihain ni Veloso sa pamamagitan ng kanyang ina ” lawyer Josalee Deinla, spokesperson of NUPL, said.

Veloso, through her mother Celia, filed separate charges of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa against Sergio and Lacanilao.

“Matatandaan natin na binigyan siya ng reprieve ng Indonesian government, ni President Joko Widodo dahil gusto siyang bigyan ng pagkakataon na sabi niya bigyan ng pagkakataon na mai-file ang kaso laban sa kanyang mga recruiter,” Deinla said.

Veloso’s mother, Celia, also welcomed the decision in high spirit.

“Masaya po ako. Para bang sa pakiramdam ko ay unti-unti ko na pong nakikita ang paglaya ni Mary Jane ,” Celia said.

But Veloso’s father, Cesar, said he could not be totally happy until his daughter was freed. “Nasa death row pa rin po ang anak ko ,” he said.

Both Lacanilao and Sergio, who have been denying the charges, refused to comment on the court decision.

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