MANILA, – Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates.
It was Aquino’s third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines’ request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug traffickers.
Aquino told reporters in the Malaysian resort of Langkawi, where he is attending a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders, that Veloso has started to cooperate with authorities in going after her recruiter, abandoning her past hesitation.
“She does present an opportunity right now to be able to uncover all the participants and start the process of bringing them to the bars of justice. So we presented that,” Aquino said.
“It seems to serve both of our interest to keep her alive to be able to testify, and it serves the ends of justice for both our concerns,” he said.
But Indonesia’s Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said Veloso was given enough opportunity to defend herself.
“Now she says she’s a victim of human trafficking. But all are coming up now. Why not from before? I think these are just efforts to delay the execution,” Prasetyo said.
“We have given her all legal avenues. Don’t force us to change. If we’re not firm, it means we’re weak in the war against drugs,” he said.