The Indonesian lawyer of Mary Jane Veloso said on Tuesday the cancellation of the death penalty on the convicted overseas worker is still possible.
Atty. Rudyantho, who is in the country along with two other Indonesian lawyers, made the statement at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where they met with DOJ Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and chief legal counsel Ricardo Paras to discuss Veloso’s case.
“The cancellation of the death penalty is still possible,” Rudyantho said, adding that it is their intent to have the death penalty canceled or commuted.
“I am a lawyer. I have to be optimistic to help my client,” he further said.
The Indonesian lawyers, who are to return to Indonesia Thursday, said they decided to come to Manila even without a formal invitation from the Philippine government, to gather evidence and documents that would help permanently save Veloso from the death penalty.
“I came here to try to find out how to help Mary Jane. We will try our best to help her, to find out the real story, including what happened in Malaysia when Sergio recruited her and sent her to Indonesia,” he added.
The impending execution by firing squad of Veloso was interrupted by a last-minute reprieve from Indonesian President Joko Widodo last month.
The Indonesian government said the reprieve was to allow Veloso to testify against the case of her illegal recruiters in the Philippines.
This developed as DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima disclosed more alleged victims of Veloso’s recruiters, Ma. Cristina Sergio and her live-in-partner, Julius Lacanilao, have also approached the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) while still others were referred to them by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
De Lima said some of the victims have sent handwritten letters to the NBI detailing their harrowing experiences with Sergio.
De Lima said the cases are now being investigated by the NBI.
“The DFA referred to us the additional cases for verification or validation, and these were automatically assigned to the NBI for investigation,” she explained.
Earlier, 10 others, aside from Veloso and Lorna Valino, Ana Maries Gonzales and Jenalyn Paraiso, came forward and filed charges of illegal recruitment and human trafficking before the NBI.