June 21, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — Mary Jane Veloso, who has been incarcerated since 2010 in Indonesia over drug trafficking charges, reunited with her family after five years, Migrante International said Wednesday.
Veloso’s parents and two sons traveled to Yogyakarta in Indonesia early last week to visit her in the town of Wonosari—where she is detained—and spent two days with her.
“Our family is very happy. After a long time, we were able to hug Mary Jane… She saw her two sons who are already young men. When they saw their mother, they did not want to let go of her, always kissing and hugging her,” said Celia Veloso, mother of Mary Jane.
Mark Danielle, Mary Jane’s eldest son, is hoping that his mother will be granted clemency soon.
“Saying goodbye really pains me because I wanted her to go home with us. My mom told us to continue fighting until she is free,” he said.
“I know my mother is just a victim, and she is a good person and a good mother. I hope she will be given clemency in the soonest possible time so we can be together. Our life in the Philippines may be simple, but what’s important is that we’re together,” her son added.
Veloso’ family were joined by Migrante International chairperson Joanna Concepcion, Mary Jane’s family lawyers Edre Olalia and Minnie Lopez, and Bishop Nonie Francisco from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
Representatives from the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs who assisted in facilitating the family’s visit were also present.
Veloso has been behind bars since 2010 after she was caught smuggling heroin hidden in the lining of a suitcase upon her arrival at Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto International Airport. She was sentenced to death by firing squad months after her imprisonment.
In April 2015, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III personally appealed to the Indonesian government to grant Veloso clemency after the recruiters who tricked her into smuggling illegal drugs surrendered. Veloso was spared from the firing squad.
“This reunion serves as a reminder that it has been a difficult 13-year-journey for Mary Jane and her family, and we challenge President Bongbong Marcos Jr. to take more proactive actions to appeal to the Indonesian government to grant clemency for Mary Jane,” Migrante’s Concepcion said.
Marcos said in May that the government will continue to try to bring Veloso home.
“We can be the ones to punish her… Just seeking any way to ask for clemency, to ask for grace when it comes to this,” Marcos said.