Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the commitment of the Indonesian government to reexamine Mary Jane Veloso’s case

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the commitment of the Indonesian government to reexamine Mary Jane Veloso’s case

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the development on the case of Mary Jane Veloso, after the expression of commitment from Indonesian President Joko Widodo to reexamine the decision over the Filipina’s drug charges. We are hopeful that this will finally result in her release and return to her family.

It must be remembered that Veloso was sentenced to death in October 2010 after being discovered at the Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia with 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her suitcase. In April 2015, a last-minute reprieve was given to Veloso by said President Joko Widodo after receiving communication from the Philippine government that her testimony would be crucial in pursuing human trafficking charges against her illegal recruiters.

Thirteen years later, her case still awaits prompt attention to possibly merit her clemency. If successful, such will open another hope for migrant workers who face the same condition.

Attached to our Constitutional mandate to promote and protect the dignity of every Filipino also includes our migrant workers, as borders do not set any limits for the Commission in reaching out to the vulnerable and marginalized. As such, the Commission remains rooted on the provisions of the Migrant Workers Act to ensure that their rights are consistently put on the frontlines of our discussions.

The Commission thus applauds the efforts of the Executive to assist the family of Veloso and allow them to reach out to the Indonesian government to ensure that no Filipino migrant worker falls victim to yet another death sentence.

We also recognize the proactiveness of the Indonesian government, together with other stakeholders, for providing avenues to the Philippines to conduct dialogue and diplomatic exchanges in order to address Veloso’s situation.

Just as the welfare of overseas Filipinos constitute a large proportion of the country’s interest as a State, it is incumbent upon the Commission and all government agencies to similarly persist through efforts that safeguard our migrant workers and ensure that no violations to their human rights are being committed against them. As a State signatory to various bilateral and multilateral agreements that aim to provide concrete measures which ensure their welfare outside of their home countries, the obligation to craft counterpart mechanisms within the domestic sphere now falls into the hands of the Philippines.###