By Jeffrey Domicog
Convicted illegal drugs courier Mary Jane Veloso is set to make her deposition inside the Indonesian jail where she is being against her alleged illegal recruiters who are facing charges here in the Philippines.
“Philippine trial court tentatively set on Dec. 12, 2019, the taking of Mary Jane’s testimony as the last prosecution witness by way of deposition through written interrogatories in Indonesia,” said National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia in a statement on Monday (Oct. 28).
The NUPL is representing the Veloso family in prosecuting alleged illegal recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 88 in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija where they are facing charges of human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa.
The RTC set the date after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a decision which upheld the RTC’s 2016 order which allowed Veloso to make a deposition, a written testimony made under oath by a witness who is unable to testify in person concerning facts known to him or her.
The SC ruling overturned a 2017 Court of Appeals (CA) decision which granted the petition of Sergio and Lacanilao not to allow the RTC’s order to get the deposition of Veloso in Indonesia.
On the other hand, the NUPL said the December setting of the deposition may change depending on the ruling on the SC on the motion for reconsideration of the alleged illegal recruiters who are represented by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
Aside from this, the NUPL noted that the PAO also had a pending motion to defer action before the RTC concerning the order allowing the deposition of Veloso.
The NUPL noted the two alleged illegal recruiters were also facing other charges filed by three of other alleged victims.
“Meanwhile, the case for qualified illegal recruitment filed separately by 3 other Filipinas vs the same accused is concluded and now submitted for decision by the same trial court and promulgation of the same is scheduled on January 30, 2020,” the NUPL said.
Velasco was caught on April 2010 with 2.6 kilograms of heroin at the Yogyakarta Airport in Indonesia.
The Indonesian court, fortunately, granted her reprieve after being convicted and sentenced to death.