By Jeffrey Damicog
The lawyers of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso on Thursday, January 30, expressed elation over the Nueva Ecija court’s decision to convict two of her illegal recruiters.
“We are happy with the verdict issued this morning by Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of Branch 88 of the Regional Trial Court of Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija, Philippines convicting Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao of large scale illegal recruitment and sentencing them to life imprisonment,” said National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia in a statement.
In a decision, Judge Reyes found Sergio and Lacanilao guilty of large-scale illegal recruitment and sentenced them to suffer life imprisonment and ordered them to pay a fine of P2 million.
“All told, the Prosecution having sufficiently mustered sufficient evidence to secure a guilty verdict, the Court is left with no other recourse save to render a judgment of conviction,” read the decision.
The case concerns the complaint filed by their victims, namely, Lorna Valino, Ana Marie Gonzales, and Jenalyn Paraiso.
Reyes is also handling the trial of the case filed by the Veloso family against the illegal recruiters.
“Even if their case is distinct from Mary Jane’s, we believe that Sergio and Lacanilao’s conviction stands as a testament to Mary Jane’s story–that she was not a drug courier but an unwitting victim of the same illegal recruiters,” Olalia stated.
“We look forward to the full achievement of justice when the other separate cases of Mary Jane against the same recruiters for human trafficking, simple illegal recruitment, and estafa in the same court are resolved and she herself is ultimately and finally sent home free in time,” he added.
Velasco remains detained in Indonesia where she was caught in April 2010 with 2.6 kilograms of heroin at the Yogyakarta Airport.
The Indonesian court granted her reprieve after being convicted and sentenced to death.