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article imagePacquiao's effort to save Mary Jane Veloso hampered by slow trial

By Leo Reyes     Apr 28, 2016 in World
About year ago today, Manny Pacquiao visited Filipino death row convict Mary Jane Velasco in Indonesia and made an appeal to the country's president Joko Widodo to spare spare the life of the suspected drug mule from execution by firing squad.
It its second appeal to the Indonesian government, the Philippine authorities argue that Veloso is a victim of human trafficking and does not deserve the death penalty.
Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), was arrested in 2010 by Indonesian authorities after they found 2.6 kilos of heroin in her suitcase.
Veloso denied owning the package containing the illegal drug saying she wasn't aware of its contents as she was just asked to carry it by her recruiter.
Veloso, who only made it to her first year high school, did not fully understand the questions being asked during the proceedings as she was provided only with a student translator.
In his appeal, Pacquiao said: "His Excellency, President Joko Widodo, I am Manny Pacquiao. On behalf of my countryman, Mary Jane Veloso, and the entire Filipino people, I am begging and knocking on your kind heart that Your Excellency will grant executive clemency to her by sparing her life and saving her life from execution."
In July 2010, Pacquiao flew to Indonesia along with wife Jinkee to fulfill his promise to meet Veloso at the Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta.
Together, they prayed with Veloso breaking down in tears as she tightly embraced Manny and Jinkee.
"We're hoping to help save Mary Jane's life. I think Mary Jane is a victim of human-trafficking," Pacquiao said after visiting the single mother of two young children.
Veloso is surviving on a reprieve granted by the Indonesian president on appeal from the Philippine government. As far as Indonesia is concerned, Veloso is still a death convict and execution by firing squad can take place anytime soon.
“Mary Jane is still facing the threat of execution,” Migrante International vice-chair Rina Anastacio told the Guardian. “Unfortunately the trial is going very slowly,” she said.
Indonesia has some of the toughest laws in the world for drug offenders and if the ongoing trial in the Philippines drags on for years, there is no assurance Indonesia will hold on to the temporary reprieve accorded to Veloso.
More about Manny Pacquiao, mary jane veloso, Death row, Illegal drugs
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